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Sunday March 26th

Chapel Hill restaurants thrive, increase success during Triangle Restaurant Week

Lantern, an Asian-fusion restaurant on West Franklin Street, participated in Triangle Restaurant Week and is pictured here on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.
Buy Photos Lantern, an Asian-fusion restaurant on West Franklin Street, participated in Triangle Restaurant Week and is pictured here on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.

Four Chapel Hill restaurants — Piero’s Pasta and Wine, Lantern, Market and Moss and Kipos Greek Taverna — celebrated Triangle Restaurant Week from January 23 to 29 and saw increases in business. 

Triangle Restaurant Week was founded by Damon Butler, the president of Triangle Blvd, a creative firm based in Raleigh.

“We said, ‘What a better way to unite the Triangle and have everyone come together around food and try a restaurant?’” Butler said.

Triangle Restaurant Week is open to all restaurants in the area as long as they meet the event requirements. In the past, Butler said over 100 restaurants have participated and generated $1.6 million in extra revenue.

The requirements include offering special three-course menu options and fixed pricing. 

Butler said he got the idea for Triangle Restaurant Week after seeing similar events in restaurants his company works within Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco and Denver.

Miguel Linares, the owner of Piero’s Pasta and Wine, said Triangle Restaurant Week was an opportunity to get the Italian restaurant's name out there. The restaurant opened last year, and this was the first year it participated.

Market and Moss offered a three-course all-inclusive package this past week. Ann Johnston, the owner of Market and Moss, said the three-course dinner was offered at a special price of $40, and wine could be paired with each course for $60.

Johnston said the restaurant opened in October 2020 and participated for the second year in a row despite difficult beginnings during COVID-19. Market and Moss serves “contemporary American cuisine” and has a focus on sustainable cooking. 

“Dining out is really special, especially when you go to a place where you’re meant to sit and take your time and enjoy the experience," Johnston said. "So, I really wanted to package it in a way that really made that stand out.”

She also said she saw more than half of the guests trying the wine tasting this week and that Triangle Restaurant Week has been a “big reach” for new guests. 

One main goal she had for the week was to provide a memorable experience for new and returning customers through quality hospitality and food from their current seasonal menu.

Kipos Greek Taverna also saw benefits from participating in Triangle Restaurant Week.

“I would say there’s a good 30 percent of people that have come in the door that are brand new,” Pete Wagner, general manager of Kipos Greek Taverna, said.

Lantern also offered a special menu this week, although the restaurant changes its regular menu monthly. The location provides “a marriage of Asian flavors” and sources its ingredients from over 30 different local farms, ranches and fisheries.

“We’ve changed the offering from what we normally provide to feature specifically ramen dishes in three different configurations,” Jarret Klein, private events and operations manager of Lantern, said. 

The special dishes included chicken, pork and vegetarian ramen, priced at $38 for three courses.

Klein said this was the first time Lantern participated since expanding to using its full dining room after the COVID-19 pandemic. The dining room reopened last month.

With more space to offer guests, Klein said he saw more people book reservations than normal for January, which is historically a slow month for restaurants after the holiday season.

Butler said that was why he decided to host Triangle Restaurant Week in the third week of January. Triangle Blvd also hosts the event on the second weekend in June. He said the two weeks are generally “the worst time of the year for restaurants.” 

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, total eating and drinking sales decreased by $500 million between December 2021 and January 2022.

Butler said that Triangle Restaurant Week strives not only to provide support for restaurants by bringing in regular customers but is also meant to encourage the turnout of new people to the participating restaurants.


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