Chicago Restaurant Week

January 5, 2009 at 8:13 pm 2 comments

This week is Chicago Restaurant Week and to help guide you through here is the write up from Kathy Bergen and Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago Restaurant Week hopes to heat up traffic, sales with specials.

Chicago Restaurant Week returns for a second run in February, and with a vengeance, as the coldest economic conditions in decades are exacerbating the usual winter doldrums for the city’s dining establishments.

More than 130 restaurants will offer high-on-the-hog meals at easy-to-swallow prices, which is more than triple the number that participated last winter when the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau launched the program. Among those returning is one sixtyblue, the Michael Jordan-backed spot on West Randolph Street, which saw its typical February business double during the week last year.

“Especially with the economy this year, it just seemed to make sense,” said Arthur Greenan, general manager.

Kamehachi Restaurant Group opted in because it’s trying to stay aggressive in its marketing, said Carl Meier, operations director for the family-owned business with five spots.

We have 160 [employee] families depending on us to make the right decision,” he said. Its two full-service restaurants in the city, in the Old Town and Gold Coast neighborhoods, will participate.

A similar but smaller program run by Chicago Originals, an organization of independent restaurants, returns for a second year as well and will expand from one eight-day stint to two six-day stretches. From Jan. 25-30 and from Feb. 1-6, 14 restaurants will offer three-course lunches and dinners, for $24.09 and $29.09. Some restaurants will throw in a bottle of wine for an additional $20.09.

“Traffic and revenue doubled during the week last year,” said Didier Durand, who heads the group and is chef and owner of Cyrano’s Bistrot & Wine Bar. The restaurants range from Kiki’s French Bistro in River North to Oceanique in Evanston. The list can be found at

These sorts of programs can be effective economic stimuli as long as the prices represent true savings from ordering off the menu, said Clark Wolf, a food and restaurant consultant based in New York and California. “It has to be credible.

“Locals get to try great restaurants at prices they can afford, restaurants get to stay in business and the wait staff gets to make some tips in a tough time,” Wolf said. “It’s cheaper than an ad, and people get to experience your restaurant.”

For Susanne Poilevey, co-owner of La Sardine, that last bit is key: “Once we get them here, they usually become customers.”

The convention bureau tweaked the program since last year, when some restaurants offered the prix fixe menus only for certain days within the eight-day period, which caused some confusion.

This year, all restaurants must be in the program for the entire period, but they have the option to offer the set price for lunch, dinner or both, said Meghan Risch, bureau spokeswoman.


Entry filed under: Food News, Restaurant Stuff. Tags: , , .

NFNS 4 Marathon NYC’s Legendary Rainbow Room Closing


  • 1. Derek G.  |  January 30, 2009 at 4:43 am

    Actually, Chicago Restaurant Week is Feb. 20-27 (it was not at the beginning of January when you wrote the post and said, “This week is Chicago Restaurant Week”).

    If you’re interested in viewing the menus of participating restaurants, check out The Unofficial Guide to Chicago Restaurant Week at

    • 2. wannabetvchef  |  January 30, 2009 at 10:06 am

      Thanks for the heads up!


  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Stuart Reb Donald

Stuart is a celebrity chef and award winning food writer. Donald performs live cooking demonstrations and penned the cookbook Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor."


Watch me on!

%d bloggers like this: