Story by Carrie Beth Wallace
Columbus, Georgia is gearing up for its 5th annual Restaurant Week presented by U.S. Foods. The event will take place the week of July 20-26, 2020. Restaurant Week showcases signature brunch, lunch, and dinner menus from the top restaurants in the city. Menus are prix-fixe and developed at affordable rates to allow the community to experience the vibrant culinary scene in Columbus.
Every year, Restaurant Week raises money for Giving Kitchen - a local non-profit organization that strives toprovide stability for food service workers. Last year's Restaurant Week successfully raised over $4,000 in support for Giving Kitchen.
This year, Columbus' Restaurant Week has seen several changes due to the COVID-19 crisis. Most notably, thanks to the generosity of Restaurant Week’s sponsors, U.S. Foods, Liberty Utilities, Michelob Ultra, and B&B Beverage Company, this year local restaurants can participate free of charge.
"This year, more than ever, our local restaurants need the economic boost from Restaurant Week and the support from our community is super important," said Stephanie Woodham, founder of Yalla Public Relations. "Due to COVID-19, I understand that people may not be comfortable coming out to dinner, but the community can order to-go and some restaurants are offering curbside pickup. I can’t image our community with out all of the unique mom and pop restaurants, and that’s why we hope that our amazing community will show up and support us not only during restaurant week, but as we all maneuver through this pandemic. A huge thank you to U.S. Foods, Michelob Ultra and Liberty Utilities for allowing all of us to participate for free this year."
This year’s participating restaurants include the following: Epic Restaurant, Hudson’s, Bluewater Grill, Cafe Le Rue, Caffe’ Amici, Hunter’s Pub and Steakhouse, Jarfly, Smoke Bourbon and BBQ, Wicked Hen, B. Merrell’s, Miles to Go, Stock Market Dueling Kitchens, Parker’s Pantry, Mark’s City Grill, The Food Mill, Morten’s at Old Town, 11th and Bay, and Vertigo Fusion Kitchen.
The variety of restaurants and service options are also more vast than ever before. The list above encompasses everything from four diamond dining to boxed lunches available for pickup. With COVID-19 still in full effect, restaurant owners have developed as many ways for locals to participate as possible. Service options include dining in, to-go orders, curbside pickup locations, and some are even available for delivery through a variety of apps like WAITR or DoorDash.
Though some restaurants are new this year, many have been participating in Restaurant Week since its first year. EPIC, one of only two four-diamond restaurants in Georgia outside of Atlanta, is one of the founding restaurants that continues to participate. "I believe it is important for EPIC to continue creating a stronger and more diverse culinary culture within the community," said Melissa Keating, co-founder of EPIC. "We are able to showcase the amazing culinary and service talent that we pride ourselves on and it gives us an opportunity to welcome new guests, and introduce them to an "out of the box" experience as they support the "restaurant scene" in Uptown Columbus. Always be open-minded and curious when it comes to food...it's what makes life interesting!"
Restaurant owners flock to participate in Restaurant Week each year for both the exposure and the philanthropic nature of the event. Restaurant Week is coordinated by Yalla Public Relations whose team works to donate all of the marketing efforts each year. This year, our staff at The Columbusite is honored to participate as a partner for Restaurant Week 2020 where we'll contribute additional content, social media coverage, and more.
"Restaurant week has been a great chance for us to be able to reach new customers that may not have had the chance to try us out," said Olivia Amos, co-founder of The Food Mill. "The additional marketing coverage we receive from Restaurant Week makes that week one of our biggest weeks of the year. As we are launching our transition from Bare Roots to the nonprofit, The Food Mill, it’s more important than ever for us to be able to reach as many people in the Columbus area as possible."
Yalla Public Relations' staff is passionate about their participation as the lead coordinator and one fo the sponsors for Restaurant Week. This was especially true this year. "The team at Yalla and Restaurant Week's sponsors wanted to make sure restaurants could participate free of charge,” said Bishop. “The goal for this week is to give these restaurants a much-needed marketing push. We hope locals will celebrate our culinary scene by supporting these restaurants in any way they feel comfortable; lunch, dinner, brunch, take out, dine-in, or all of the above." ◼︎
For more information on this Restaurant Week or on how to become a participating restaurant, visit www.columbusgarestaurantweek.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.