Bon Appétit, Greensboro: Downtown to celebrate Restaurant Week
Lately, I’ve been binge-watching several Food Network shows, but my favorites have been Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” and “24 Hours to Hell and Back.” What I learned from these programs is that the food and service industry is a tough and volatile market with several working parts that make a restaurant whole. With success entirely dependent upon the state of the economy, fast and pleasant service, and quality food that tastes delicious, working within the restaurant industry is not an easy job. However, with the support of the local community and loyal patrons, it seems to make it all worth it in the end.
Greensboro’s culinary scene is steadily growing, and to keep its momentum rolling, Downtown Greensboro, Inc. and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro are partnering with downtown restaurants, bakeries, and bars for a week of food, drinks, and community with Downtown Greensboro Restaurant Week from Aug. 20 to 26.
Julia Roach, Downtown Greensboro, Inc.’s organizer of Restaurant Week, said that Restaurant Week was initially spearheaded a couple of years ago by Nick Wilson of 1618 Downtown. This year, Downtown Greensboro, Inc. has taken over organization and promotion of the event.
“So we decided this year to make all the pricing consistent,” Roach said of the recent changes of Restaurant Week. “In the past, each restaurant could pick whatever they want for their special to be. We looked at all the other restaurant weeks in North Carolina and consistently they all had set pricing, so we when went with $10 and $15 lunches and $20 and $30 dinners. The cool thing about that is you are not necessarily going and getting one $20 meal, some restaurants are doing two entrées for $20 and things like that so it helps make it more accessible to different people.”
In addition to those set prices for full restaurants, Roach said DGI also wanted to include a $5 special price so that all of the various coffee shops, bakeries and bars/breweries downtown could also participate.
Roach said UNCG is the presenting sponsor and will be helping to promote Restaurant Week specifically to UNCG students and alumni.
“They will be promoting for students to come downtown, which I think is great, and they can immediately start the school year off going to different restaurants and hopefully shops and all different types of businesses downtown to see what that is about,” she said. “Then they also have a high percentage of alumni also in the area, and they can promote them as well to enjoy the downtown restaurants.”
Roach said she has heard positive feedback from the changes already, and she thinks that consistent pricing will draw more potential customers in and will also show those customers what price range the restaurant is in as well.
“I think it is really beneficial,” Roach said of Restaurant Week. “A lot of the restaurants notice that in August, in particular, their sales slow down. People are on vacation or gearing up for school, doing their last minute things before the fall, so it kind of gives people a reason to go out and enjoy these restaurants.”
Roach said Restaurant Week is an excellent opportunity for people to visit a restaurant, bakery or bar downtown that they have never tried before, eat or drink at a discounted rate and come back after Restaurant Week.
“I think we just have a lot of great local businesses and restaurants,” Roach said. “The restaurant owners here are really involved in their businesses, and that makes a huge difference in that way, and they are all really willing to help and be a part of their community.”
All specials can be found at www.dgsorw.com. YES! Weekly spoke with some chefs and restaurant owners about Downtown Greensboro Restaurant Week, and we reproduced all the specials (at the time of our press deadline) from the website below.
Participating downtown restaurants, bars and bakeries
1618 Downtown, 312 S. Elm St., will be offering both a lunch and dinner special for Restaurant Week. For lunch, the price is $15 and includes a 4-ounce seared baseball filet, Trofie pasta macaroni and cheese, blackened asparagus and Cheron sauce. For dinner, the price is $30 and consists of a wellington filet, English pea purée, Duxelle, potato galette and glacé de veau.
B. Christopher’s, 201 N. Elm St., will be offering a dinner special for $30 and includes a three-course meal. The first course provides a choice of local tomatoes with Buffalo mozzarella, shaved red onion, fresh basil, olive oil, balsamic glaze or cup of lobster bisque.
The main course offers a choice of three entrées. Steak and Frites with wild mushroom demi-glaze, duck confit over vegetable and goat cheese risotto with a bing cherry sauce or pan-seared Scottish salmon over wilted spinach potatoes and a citrus beurre blanc. The dessert course offers a housemade fruit cobbler and whipped cream. It is asked that attendees make a reservation through www.bchristophers.com and add a note to the reservation about Restaurant Week.
The Bearded Goat, 116 E. Lewis St., will be offering “The Peachy Goat” $5 drink special. The cocktail includes Deep Eddy’s Peach Vodka, fresh lemon and lime juice, topped with ginger beer and garnished with peaches.
Beer Co., 121 W. McGee St., will be offering $5 mimosas and High Gravity Drafts.
Blue Denim, 217 S. Elm St., will be offering lunch, dinner and cocktail specials for restaurant week. The $10 lunch special includes a choice between “Sister Chicken” or “The Mojo Burger.” The “Sister Chicken” is composed of crispy Joyce Farms chicken breast, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, Blue Denim sauce, challah bun, hand-cut Cajun fries and iced tea. “The Mojo Burger” is composed of house-ground chuck, Velveeta, ketchup, mustard, pickles, onions, challah bun, hand cut Cajun fries and iced tea.
The $30 dinner special includes three courses with the first course being “Crawfish Beignets,” which is composed of crawfish, peppers, comeback sauce or “Sprouts” which are crispy Brussels sprouts, shallots, spicy-sweet Vietnamese sauce. For the second course, there is a choice between “Shrimp & Grits,” which is composed of North Carolina shrimp, a tasso-Andouille-shiitake cream sauce, OMG grits or “Crispy Chicken,” Joyce Farms airline chicken breast, refried red beans, Louisiana popcorn rice, and sweet and sour barbecue sauce. The third course is a “White Chocolate Pecan Bread Pudding,” with a whiskey crème anglaise. The $5 cocktail (per glass) special is a housemade sangria.
Cheesecakes By Alex, 315 S. Elm St., will be offering a $5 medium coffee and a slice of cheesecake or layer cake.
Cincy’s Downtown, 115 E. February One Pl., will be offering a $10 lunch special for restaurant week. The special is a choice of any regular-sized chili “way” with either a side salad or dessert and a drink.
Crafted: The Art of Street Food, 600 C Battleground Ave., will offer a $20 special for two entrées from a separate limited menu for Restaurant Week. Crafted: The Art of the Taco, 219-A S. Elm St., will be offering a $15 special with two taco entrees, which includes the Americanized and Baja style (with some limitations listed on separate limited menus).
“I think it is a good way to bring people downtown that don’t typically venture into downtown,” Chef and owner Kris Fuller said of Restaurant Week.
Fuller said with the incentive of lower prices and specials during Restaurant Week, and attendees can try something new each day of the week and explore what the restaurants, bars and bakeries downtown have to offer.
“It is a chance to spend a little less money and try what I would consider our introduction tacos, something a little more straightforward,” Fuller said of Crafted: The Art of the Taco. “Then while you are there, we hope that you try out our signature tacos that we have to offer, or come back and try them.”
For The Art of Street Food, Fuller said, “It is a good way for people to come in and find some dishes from all over the world that they typically would have to go to separate restaurants to get.”
Fuller said since Taco has moved into its new and bigger space, there have been some menu expansions, such as new appetizers, burgers, beers and cocktails. Fuller said Street Food recently went through a menu change and would be offering a “Ramen of the Month,” where patrons can try different types of ramen depending on when they come in.
“I think my favorite part [of Restaurant Week] is it brings us local businesses together,” Fuller said. “Often we are so busy and just don’t really have time outside of our own restaurants, to sit down and collaborate and do things, but Restaurant Week is a chance for us all to sit down and say ‘hey what do we wanna do, what do we want to highlight to make us all more successful in our community. So, it is a really good time for collaboration.”
Crooked Tail Cat Cafe, 604 S. Elm St., will be offering a $5 glass of wine special or a complimentary 12-ounce drink with the purchase of an hour in the Kitty Lounge. To reserve a spot in the Kitty Lounge, visit the website (www.crookedtailcatcafe.com/book-reservation) the cost is $10.70 (sales tax included).
Dram & Draught Greensboro, 300 W. Gate City Blvd., even though this spot isn’t open quite yet, it will be making its debut in Downtown Greensboro for Restaurant Week. This new bar from Raleigh will be offering $5 frosé (frozen rosé) for its Restaurant Week special. “With most other restaurant week models, there are no options for beverage-only concepts like Dram & Draught that don’t have a kitchen or restaurant to participate,” said Raleighwood Media marketing representative Lisa Jeffries. “But one of my favorite ways to enjoy any local culinary scene is by making ‘a night of it’ and visiting many places throughout the evening. The first stop at a local watering hole, dinner at a neighboring restaurant, and perhaps even dessert at another. This really opens the doors for more operators in the hospitality space to participate.”
Ghassan’s Restaurant at LeBauer Park, 210 N. Davie St., will be offering a new menu item, chicken shawarma pita, for its Restaurant Week lunch special. The chicken shawarma pita comes with a choice of one side and a 24-ounce fountain drink or iced tea for $10. Vice president of catering and marketing Lina Fleihan Urmos said that this special is available at the LeBauer Park kiosk throughout Restaurant Week from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“We are excited about [Restaurant Week],” Urmos said. “Just because it is a new menu item and it has been well-received at our other locations, so we are excited to use that as a way to introduce this item to the LeBauer Park location.
Urmos said Ghassan’s launched a new menu at its Battleground location and should be launched at the other locations at the end of the month.
“It is a great way to highlight the local restaurants and bring more attention specifically to the LeBauer Park area and the fact that there are some great dining options down there as well,” Urmos said of Restaurant Week.
The Green Bean, 341 S. Elm St., will be offering a $5 drink special for a cappuccino plus single origin espresso.
Jerusalem Market on Elm, 310 S. Elm St., will be offering lunch, dinner and drink specials for Restaurant Week. For lunch, co-owner Easa Hanhan said the restaurant would be offering a $10 Jerusalem Classic Combination. For dinner, there is a choice of either a $20 Jerusalem Market Vegetarian Sampler Platter for two or a $30 Jerusalem Market Mixed Grill Platter for two. And the drink special is any glass of wine for $5.
“It gets our name out and our dishes out to more people,” Hanhan said of Restaurant Week’s importance to his business. “It’s a good way to break the ice, and it is good advertising that is in our wheelhouse and attracts the right type of people.”
The restaurant is also featuring a new Palestinian dessert called kanaseh, which is composed of shredded filo dough, a sweetened cheese mixture in the middle and is layered and baked with an orange blossom simple syrup. Hanhan said people should come out to try what is on the menu at Jerusalem Market because his brother, Omar, the chef and co-owner makes authentic recipes from scratch. He said his favorite part about Restaurant Week is that it breaks the monotony and offers something different, new and “out of the ordinary” to the culinary scene.
“We think that Jerusalem Market is probably the most unique restaurant in Greensboro as far as food and dining experience and it should not be missed,” Hanhan said.
Koshary Restaurant, 200 S. Elm St., will be offering a $30 dinner special for two. The special includes two Moroccan chicken dinners, two drinks (including hibiscus or soda), and an order of baklava to share.
Liberty Oak, 100 W. Washington St., will be offering a $10 lunch special and a $20 dinner special. The lunch special is the honeycup chicken sandwich. The dinner special is steak risotto.
Little Brother Brewing, 348 S. Elm St., will be offering a $5 “beer cocktail” as its special for restaurant week. The beer cocktail is a Shandy made with Little Brother’s Brutally Honest IPA, Spanish Cava and sparkling Italian soda, garnished with a lemon. “We are most excited about restaurant week because it allows us to step outside of the traditional offerings that we have by getting more creative with unique ingredients.” wrote general manager Karmen Guilyard in an email.
Meraki Handmade, 230 S. Elm St., will be offering a $5 glass of wine or two lattes/coffees as its drink specials.
Mellow Mushroom, 609 S. Elm St., will be offering both a $10 lunch and a $20 dinner special. The lunch special includes any Lil Salad, slice (up to three toppings) and a drink. The dinner special includes a Lil House or Caesar Salad, a medium one-topping pizza and dessert.
Natty Greene’s Brewery & Pub, 345 S. Elm St., will be offering both a $10 lunch and $20 dinner special. The lunch special includes a smoked brisket sandwich with fried onions, coleslaw, barbecue sauce and a side. The dinner special consists of a surf and turf plate.
Pier Oyster Bar & Grille, 216 S. Elm St., will be offering a select menu dinner special with three courses for $30 per guest. The courses are a choice of a starter, a choice of an entrée and a choice of a dessert. It is recommended that guests call or book their reservation online at OpenTable.com (www.opentable.com/r/pier-oyster-bar-and-grille-greensboro). There will also be $1 oysters from 4 to 6 p.m. as well as a $5 special on select cocktails.
Preyer Brewing Company, 600 Battleground Ave., will be offering a $5 drink special for restaurant week, and the special is a Saisongria (a fruit-infused saison).
The Table on Elm, 227 S. Elm St., will be offering a $5 small coffee and a pastry of your choice as its special for Restaurant Week.
Undercurrent, 327 Battleground Ave., is offering a $5 drink, $15 lunch and $30 dinner specials. Lunch includes a “Greensboro Burger” with Summerfield Farms beef, pulled pork, fried green tomato, pimento cheese, pickled red onion, Peppadew-peach barbecue sauce on a challah bun. The dinner includes a three-course sampling menu. For the first course, there will be fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, country ham and basil-lusty monk aioli. The second course is composed of, grilled pork tenderloin, Guilford Mill grits, okra, grilled summer squash, jalapeño-corn cream, and Chowchow. The third course is the “Grasshopper Sundae” and is composed of mint-chocolate fudge swirl ice cream, brownie, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and cocoa nib. The $5 drink special is the “Undercurrant” beer by Preyer Brewing.
White and Wood, 215 S. Elm St., will be offering a $30 dinner special featuring two courses with a choice of salad and an entrée or an entrée and dessert. The salads are composed of tomato and strawberries, beets or Brussels sprouts. The choice of entrées includes scallops, duck confit and ricotta gnocchi, or filet mignon ($10 supplement). The desserts include a choice of peach tart, Pot de Creme or strawberry and olive oil cake.
According to the website (www.dgsorw.com), the tax and tip are not included in the special prices, and all specials are dine-in only. Business hours vary, so check the hours of operation of the participating businesses before going. Please note that specials may only be available during certain hours. All Restaurant Week specials are available while supplies last and restaurants have the right to adjust all specials without updating the Downtown Greensboro website. Check with the businesses regarding questions on the special, allergies and other dietary restrictions.
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.