Friday, September 27, 2013

Heartburn for Charity

Restaurant Week ended yesterday here in Binghamton, New York.

For those who don't have this program, you may want to consider it for your community.

This started out in 2010 as a once a year promotion, and is now twice a year.  It is a win-win for both restaurants and their patrons.

It works like this:

Participating restaurants offer either lunch or dinner, or both.  These are prix fixe meals.
Lunch is three courses for $10 - an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. (some restaurants offer a wine or beer in exchange for the appetizer).  Dinner is "$25 or less". Most restaurants chose to charge either $20 or $25, and the dinner prix fixe menu consists of four courses.  For lunch it's usual to offer a choice of two appetizers, three main dishes, and two desserts, but this can vary.

They can, at their option, also offer their regular menu.

This is the caring part - a portion of the proceeds go to charity.  This time the charity is CHOW, our Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse.  Our Binghamton community suffers from high unemployment, and high underemployment, and an important thing to remember (this was related to me by a person who volunteers at a local food pantry) that a high percentage of those who use those food pantries are working poor.

I work in downtown Binghamton, and I can testify that the restaurants are packed during Restaurant Week.  It's a good time for chefs to highlight their creations and gain new customers.  It's a good time for people (who can afford to eat out) to try new restaurants out and eat out for a good cause.  And, a good time for both businesses and customers to reflect on their good fortune in being able to participate.

Monday - my experience as a restaurant goer and this past Restaurant Week.  Why do I say "heartburn for charity?" I'll explain more about that tomorrow (it ended well).

Does your area have a similar restaurant program or a special business event in your area that raises money for local charities?


  1. Obviously, prices are much lower in your neck of the woods. Around here (DC and Alexandria both run restaurant weeks twice a year), the prices don't include the meal tax (which makes the dinner rise from $ 30.13 to $ 34 or a beverage, which really makes the dinner $ 40 (unless your beverage is alcohol- and then you don't ask...) Which brings up why I state this in the first place- going to the same restaurants NOT during restaurant week only costs $5 more- at best- and does not include restrictive menus or smaller portions...
    Maybe if the proceeds helped charitable causes...

    1. Yes, we here in Binghamton have a much lower cost of living (check our home prices out if you want a real shock) but in some ways, you get what you pay for. One note - we do have to pay sales tax on our meal, which brings the $10 lunch to $10.80 (plus tip).. I was surprised to hear your area's restaurant week doesn't give some proceeds to charity - I always thought that was part of the Restaurant Week "package". I looked on line and apparently that is not the case.

  2. Replies
    1. It is - it has been a big success since the start in 2010.

  3. It is nice to be part of charity work once in a while.

    1. It is - and part of the success is that it takes something you may have done anyway and make it a charitable event. However, I suspect the charitable aspect does help fill up the restaurants - which it does!

  4. Same here Roy. Prices are high, but it an all inclusive meal, but nothing goes to charity. Sl nice of the NYers to give to a cause

    1. Maybe I should issue a challenge: What about it, restaurants in other parts of the United States? What about turning your Restaurant Week into a charitable event. It would be great,for example, to choose a food pantry. I believe our local Boys/Girls Club has also been a recipient. No child should ever have to go hungry.


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