Sitting back in the booth after a meal from one of the many amazing restaurants in Charleston with my stomach feeling very full and my wallet not too much lighter, this could only be the workings of Charleston Restaurant Week: a biannual event put on by the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, Inc (GCRA) going on now through September 14, 2014.
The event takes place in the months of September and January and usually run for a little over a week. Local restaurants downtown and in the surrounding communities put together a concise menu with set pricing that gives customers a chance to try out some of what they have to offer for a bang for your buck. Kathy Britzius from the GCRA informed CYN that the reason the event occurs in these two time frames is because they are the slowest weeks for the restaurants, and it provides a chance to rejuvenate business and aids in marketing purposes. Charleston Restaurant Week began in January of 2010, and since then it has grown from twenty-some restaurants to about 150 now.
What’s different about this week from the others in the past, however, is the fact that restaurants are being given more flexibility with the pricing of their menus. Britzius states,“We used to have rigid rules that participants could only price their menus at the allotted $20, $30, or $40, but now we are being more flexible and giving them freedom with their menus.” For example, Grill 225, one participant in the Charleston Restaurant Week, gives the option of adding an additional course to the usual three for an extra $5.
There are many positive outcomes for the local businesses that are participating in this event. It’s a chance for
restaurants to showcase their chef’s talents and creativity, as well as drawing in customers who then get a chance to be even more thoroughly impressed by what else the restaurant has to offer. Oak Steakhouse from the Indigo Rose Restaurant Group claims that the reason they choose to participate in the Charleston Restaurant Week is that, “since we are part of a bigger restaurant group, it’s important to support the local restaurant community and feel apart of Charleston. It’s a goodwill thing in the sense that it gives us the opportunity to pick popular items from our menu and have them at a price that’s more affordable than it would be on a normal basis.”
As far as how it’s decided on what makes the menu for the Charleston Restaurant Week, Five Loaves Cafe, yet another participant in this event, commented that, “it’s more or less what is able to be easily executed for the chefs because of the business due to the restaurant week hours. Most customers choose to order off that menu, so we try to pick items that are fresh, fun, as well as easy to prepare.”
The menu is usually set up in a three course ensemble, starting off with your choice of the selected appetizers, entrees and accompaniments and desserts. Some examples of the exclusive deals during this current Restaurant Week is Hyman’s Seafood’s five courses plus a glass of wine for $30 which includes their “award winning She Crab Soup,” hush puppies, a sixteen ounce fried flounder for the main course and to top it all off, their famous Key Lime pie. Halls Chophouse on King Street is offering a three course for $40 deal which includes their eight ounce filet mignon. Even bigger chains like Mellow Mushroom are participating with three courses for $20 which gives customers a choice of various appetizers to start, different types of salads to accompany and a multitude of ten inch pizzas as the entree.
This installment of Charleston Restaurant week is taking place from September 3rd through the 14th, and is an excellent opportunity to try out some of the many wonderful restaurants and local dining Charleston has to offer. Go grab a 3 for $20 with your friend before it’s over Sunday!