Instead of indoor dining rooms and crowded lines, guests at Triangle Restaurant Week may find themselves ordering through windows and eating in the comfort of their own homes.
During this biannual event, which is running from Jan. 25 to 31, restaurants offer two- and three-course meals with special prices. But this winter’s dining options will look different at some establishments.
One restaurant that has modified its offerings is Lantern, an Asian establishment in Chapel Hill.
“Because of the pandemic, we’ve had to learn how to do take-out in a way that’s efficient, and doing it for Triangle Restaurant Week is an extension of trying to do that well," Claire Nielsen, office manager at Lantern, said.
Lantern offered exclusively take-out options for the event and has already sold out of food due to high demand.
“We’ve had a very positive and enthusiastic response to our menu this year,” Nielsen said.
Another restaurant with a similar experience is Dashi, a ramen restaurant in Durham. Sarah Guizard, the marketing manager of Dashi, remains optimistic about this event. She acknowledged that this week will look different than it has in years past.
She added that outdoor dining will be available, as well as online ordering.
Dashi’s menu for this event consists of a $20, two-course meal with the guest’s choice of appetizer and Ramen bowl. While Dashi may not have its usual indoor dining at the moment, Guizard said she is still excited for the event.
“I love connecting to new guests and getting a wider selection of people to come experience our dining,” she said.
First-year Hannah Nelson, who served as a hostess at both So•ca and Kō•än during last January’s Triangle Restaurant Week, similarly said the event was a good opportunity to expand to new customers.
“We’d have people who would come back and become regulars because they liked it so much at Restaurant Week,” Nelson said.
While neither So•ca nor Kō•än will be participating in this year's Triangle Restaurant Week due to the pandemic, Nelson said she is hopeful for the coming years.
“I’m really excited to be able to do Restaurant Week again once it’s safer, and I feel that all the restaurants are going to take the pandemic really seriously,” she said.
Senior Sara Holley attended Triangle Restaurant Week in the past when she dined with a group of friends at Caffé Luna in Raleigh. Holley and her friends enjoyed their experience at the Italian restaurant, especially their three-course meals.
“The ability to try some of those ‘higher-end’ cuisines at a more affordable price was a lot of fun,” Holley said.
Like Nelson, Holley will not be attending Triangle Restaurant Week this year due to the pandemic’s limits on social gatherings.
“Social eating is something that I really miss, and I’m very much looking forward to when we’re safely able to all get back together,” Holley said.
Despite current circumstances, many restaurants are working to participate in Triangle Restaurant Week while keeping everyone involved safe.
“Everything’s changed due to the pandemic," Guizard said. "And we’re excited to be a part of this new model."
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