Diners become do-gooders

Local restaurants are expecting larger crowds and new faces this week, and it’s all for a good cause.

Richmond’s ninth annual Restaurant Week kicked off Monday and runs through Sunday. Restaurants participate in the fundraiser by offering a fixed-price, three-course menu and pledging a portion of the profits to Meals on Wheels and the Central Virginia Food Bank. This year the price for dinner is $25.10 per person, with $2.10 of that going to charity.

For local restaurants, it’s a chance to get new customers in the door and hopefully please their taste buds enough to get them to return.

“Restaurants are requesting to participate,” said Aline Reitzer, event organizer and co-owner of Acacia Restaurant.

Reitzer said she has recently started a restaurant waiting list because so many want to be a part of the event.

“We’re promoting locally owned restaurants and hopefully are attracting new guests,” Reitzer said.

Reitzer got the idea after enjoying similar events in other cities and decided to bring the concept to Richmond. Her restaurant, like most others, gets an overwhelming number of donation requests each year from nonprofits, so she conceived the idea as way to benefit both the restaurants and charities.

And each year, the fundraiser becomes more successful. Last year the event raised $23,000, about $8,000 more than the previous year.

Reitzer expects to raise between $25,000 and $30,000 this time around.

“People get to go out and enjoy great food, and restaurants get new clientele. It’s a win-win,” said Reitzer.

The number of participants has grown from nine the first year to 28 this year.

As of Monday night, Acacia had 200 people come in for the special deal, and that’s expected to be the slowest night of the week.

“Every night is like Saturday night,” Reitzer said. “It’s somebody new that hasn’t seen your restaurant before.”

Last year, The Dining Room at the Berkeley Hotel saw 200 people during the event and has already exceeded previous reservation numbers.

“For people that like to dine out at popular restaurants, it’s a good deal,” said Ken Wall, Food and Beverage Director for the Dining Room.

TJ’s at The Jefferson Hotel has participated for the past couple of years.

“Last year we saw around 100 a night,” Assistant Manager Danielle Ridler said.

The event has brought in repeat customers for them so they’re optimistic about the crowd this year. “We’re hoping to bring in as many last year,” Ridler said.

Todd Krull, manager for Europa, says that they’ve benefited from the publicity of the event and that the event has helped attract new customers.

“We love the exposure,” said Krull. “We love the idea of bringing people out who aren’t normally coming to our place.”

This is Europa’s third year participating, and since last week they’ve had steady reservation requests coming in.

Lulu’s, a Shockoe Bottom spot is new to the event, and it has high hopes for what’s to come.

“We’re proud to be apart of a city-wide event and are expecting a huge increase during the week,” General Manager Kirsten Hansen said.

Secco Wine Bar is also new to the event and recently opened a few months ago, so joining for them was a way to let people know who they are.

“For a new business, it’s a good way to personally connect with people who may not know about you yet,” owner Julia Battaglini said.

Last night, 65 people showed up for a place that normally seats 25. That type of turnout is unusual for a weekday, but she expects to see an increase in traffic from here on out.

“I’m pleased with how it went, and judging by last night’s comments, I think we will definitely see some new faces,” Battaglini said.

For a complete list of participating restaurants and menus, go to www.richmondrestaurantweek.com.

Local restaurants are expecting larger crowds and new faces this week, and it’s all for a good cause.

Richmond’s ninth annual Restaurant Week kicked off Monday and runs through Sunday. Restaurants participate in the fundraiser by offering a fixed-price, three-course menu and pledging a portion of the profits to Meals on Wheels and the Central Virginia Food Bank. This year the price for dinner is $25.10 per person, with $2.10 of that going to charity.

For local restaurants, it’s a chance to get new customers in the door and hopefully please their taste buds enough to get them to return.

“Restaurants are requesting to participate,” said Aline Reitzer, event organizer and co-owner of Acacia Restaurant.

Reitzer said she has recently started a restaurant waiting list because so many want to be a part of the event.

“We’re promoting locally owned restaurants and hopefully are attracting new guests,” Reitzer said.

Reitzer got the idea after enjoying similar events in other cities and decided to bring the concept to Richmond. Her restaurant, like most others, gets an overwhelming number of donation requests each year from nonprofits, so she conceived the idea as way to benefit both the restaurants and charities.

And each year, the fundraiser becomes more successful. Last year the event raised $23,000, about $8,000 more than the previous year.

Reitzer expects to raise between $25,000 and $30,000 this time around.

“People get to go out and enjoy great food, and restaurants get new clientele. It’s a win-win,” said Reitzer.

The number of participants has grown from nine the first year to 28 this year.

As of Monday night, Acacia had 200 people come in for the special deal, and that’s expected to be the slowest night of the week.

“Every night is like Saturday night,” Reitzer said. “It’s somebody new that hasn’t seen your restaurant before.”

Last year, The Dining Room at the Berkeley Hotel saw 200 people during the event and has already exceeded previous reservation numbers.

“For people that like to dine out at popular restaurants, it’s a good deal,” said Ken Wall, Food and Beverage Director for the Dining Room.

TJ’s at The Jefferson Hotel has participated for the past couple of years.

“Last year we saw around 100 a night,” Assistant Manager Danielle Ridler said.

The event has brought in repeat customers for them so they’re optimistic about the crowd this year. “We’re hoping to bring in as many last year,” Ridler said.

Todd Krull, manager for Europa, says that they’ve benefited from the publicity of the event and that the event has helped attract new customers.

“We love the exposure,” said Krull. “We love the idea of bringing people out who aren’t normally coming to our place.”

This is Europa’s third year participating, and since last week they’ve had steady reservation requests coming in.

Lulu’s, a Shockoe Bottom spot is new to the event, and it has high hopes for what’s to come.

“We’re proud to be apart of a city-wide event and are expecting a huge increase during the week,” General Manager Kirsten Hansen said.

Secco Wine Bar is also new to the event and recently opened a few months ago, so joining for them was a way to let people know who they are.

“For a new business, it’s a good way to personally connect with people who may not know about you yet,” owner Julia Battaglini said.

Last night, 65 people showed up for a place that normally seats 25. That type of turnout is unusual for a weekday, but she expects to see an increase in traffic from here on out.

“I’m pleased with how it went, and judging by last night’s comments, I think we will definitely see some new faces,” Battaglini said.

For a complete list of participating restaurants and menus, go to www.richmondrestaurantweek.com.

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