There are some upsides to the coronavirus pandemic. One particularly tasty morsel on our minds right now is the extension of the 10th annual Galveston Restaurant Week from its traditional week to the entire month of February.
That’s three extra weeks to partake of a great culinary adventure that runs the gamut of island cuisine with a side of philanthropy. The extended time period is to allow for proper social distancing by spreading out the crowds over 28 days rather than a mere seven.
More than 40 restaurants will participate in this once-a-year opportunity for diners to try top dishes on prix-fixe breakfast, lunch and dinner menus at happily affordable prices. Two- and three-course dinners will be priced between $20 and $35, while two-course lunches, breakfasts and brunches will cost between $10 and $20.
All you have to do to participate is choose some restaurants and dig in. Or take out. But if take-out is your dealbreaker, be sure to call your restaurant of choice before heading out, since most but not all will allow diners to carry out the special prix-fixe meals.
The event is a win-win-win. Local gourmands and simple foodies alike can have a great, affordable culinary experience and maybe challenge their tastebuds by trying restaurants and dishes they might not have experienced before. Participating restaurants will see an uptick in business and introduce more people to their menus, encouraging return visits. And one local nonprofit organization will receive a portion of all of the specially priced meals of which customers partake.
As of Tuesday, organizers were still deciding between three island charities to support.
It’s no secret that the restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic and by restrictions that were put in place to stem the coronavirus’ spread. At first, they were shut down, then they were allowed to open for takeout only, then were allowed to open at 50 percent capacity. Things were looking up as they were allowed to increase that capacity to 75 percent. But then hospitalizations rose again to a number that triggered statewide restrictions that brought them back to the 50 percent capacity. Any restaurant owner will tell you it’s tough to stay in business at that rate.
Nonprofit organizations also took a hard hit and are still feeling the financial consequences of huge fundraising events being verboten for almost a year and of an increased need for services at a time when even steadfast donors might be feeling the pinch of reduced incomes because of business closings, restrictions, quarantines or illness.
So helping out while you’re filling up? Can’t beat it, really.
Galveston.com is hosting the event with sponsorships from the Galveston Chapter of the Texas Restaurant Association, Del Papa Distributing, Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, The Galveston County Daily News, Sysco Houston and Ben E. Keith.
We encourage anyone who can to patronize any of the participating restaurants over the rest of the month. Or all of them. It’s good food for a good cause — a few good causes actually. So, bon appetit.
For more information on Galveston Restaurant Week and to view menus, visit www.galvestonrestaurantweek.com.
• Margaret Battistelli Gardner