Now may be a good time to hit “pause” on those New Year’s resolutions, readers. Downtown Lawrence Restaurant Week is back and bigger than ever, with more than 20 local eateries expected to serve up special dishes (or, in a few cases, entire menus) created in honor of the occasion.
This year’s Restaurant Week runs Friday through Saturday, Jan. 28. And organizers (Downtown Lawrence Inc. coordinates the proceedings) are confident that 2017’s event will be worth the wait for diners.
It was decided after the 2015 Restaurant Week that festivities be moved from September, when folks are more likely to eat out anyway, to January, when downtown businesses could most use a boost. Ergo, no Downtown Lawrence Restaurant Week in 2016.
“I think we had 17 participating restaurants in the first year, and we have 21 now, which is exciting because we’ve had quite a few new restaurants that we added to downtown since the last time we’ve done Restaurant Week,” said Sally Zogry, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc.
Among those first-timers are Lucia Beer Garden + Grill, Mass St. Fish House & Raw Bar, and Port Fonda. Some of Lawrence’s more established eateries, including beloved chicken-wings emporium Jefferson’s, are also making their Downtown Lawrence Restaurant Week debut this Friday.
A handful of participants are creating prix fixe menus (think relatively upscale joints like 715 and Merchants Pub & Plate) for the week, while others are offering specialty items that diners can mix and match with regularly served dishes.
“I always look forward to seeing what people come up with,” said Zogry, who enjoys the creativity displayed at one of her favorites, The Burger Stand.
The gourmet hamburger eatery is offering a zany (yet elegant) twist on an American staple via its Kobe beef hot dog, topped with foie gras and lingonberry jam, for example. Served with spiral fried colored potatoes, the funky dinner could be yours for $12.50.
Zogry also said there’s been a push this year for more restaurants to include breakfast and lunch options. She’s a fan of Global Café’s chilaquiles, available starting Friday in both classic (i.e., meat) and tofu varieties. They’re not to be missed this year, Zogry advises.
Organizers may add another restaurant to the mix before things officially kick off this week, so keep an eye on the Downtown Lawrence Restaurant Week website and social media accounts (it’s all over Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) for updates.
“This is a time for these local restaurants to shine,” Zogry says.