“Everybody is rebuilding, everybody is trying to staff up and get to a place where they can begin elements of normal in the fall,” says Kathy Hollinger of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), adding that area restaurants could use all the help they can get in the meantime. “What we want to be most mindful of is they need butts in seats. And this has always been a promotion designed to promote the industry and push people to try some of our great restaurants, particularly at a time when they need the most support.”
Next week sees the return of Restaurant Week, a twice annual promotion organized by RAMW to “get people out across the region and get a taste of our really unique market full of creative and independent restaurant eateries.”
“Diners have really grown to love this promotion the last couple of cycles where we included family-style Restaurant Week-To-Go offerings and cocktail pairings,” says Hollinger. With expanded al fresco options, “the whole idea is that we wanted to build a flexible promotion where we can meet diners where they are in terms of comfort level. The same applies today.”
More than 200 establishments, ranging from fast-casual spots to fine-dining destinations, will participate in this year’s Summer Restaurant Week, offering diners three-course menus at lunch or brunch for just $22 and at dinner for $35 or $55, depending on the restaurant (before tax and tip). In addition, select restaurants are once again offering RW-To-Go takeout packages priced from $60 to $120 for two and $100 to $200 for four.
Among new entries to the promotion this year are ANXO Cidery, Flower Child, GATSBY, Glover Park Grill, Gypsy Kitchen DC, La Bise, Le Sel, Truluck’s in DC, and Spice Kraft Indian Bistro.
For further guidance on new or notable restaurants to try, there’s also a list of recently announced finalists for RAMW’s 2021 RAMMY Awards. Rather than strictly based on performance, this year’s awards were designed to recognize “creative and thoughtful” responses to the pandemic, with nominations in 17 non-traditional categories ranging from stellar design and ambiance to takeout prowess to overall community support and leadership. The roster includes All Purpose, Bresca, Chloe, Convivial, Farmers Fishers Bakers, Immigrant Food, Jaleo, Little Coco’s, Thamee, and Unconventional Diner.
“It definitely took a while, but it was really important that we just rethink what this celebration is about,” Hollinger says about the RAMMYs, which will be presented next month. “And we were very focused on being inclusive and casting a wide net to make sure that recognition goes far and wide.”
Summer Restaurant Week starts Monday, Aug. 9, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 15, at participating area restaurants. Visit www.rwdmv.com.