Launched in late 2001 to encourage people to get back out after the tragedy of 9/11, Restaurant Week has steadily grown in popularity — both in terms of the number of restaurants participating and the number of people who visit them. Held twice a year, the most recent Winter Restaurant Week drew a solid 250,000 people to participating establishments in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
"The original idea is still there, especially since this area has become such a dining destination," I-shi Patterson, operations manager for the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, told Patch. "We like to put on this promotion, not just to get people out there, but to get people to cross the river into Virginia, or cross the river into Maryland… Really, just to get more people involved in the restaurant scene throughout the region."
More than 200 restaurants in the greater Washington area are participating in this summer's event — including 17 in Arlington.
Those restaurants will offer three-course meals for a set price — $20.13 for lunch or $35.13 for dinner. Some are just participating for lunch, others just for dinner. Many will do both.
Some restaurants choose offer a special menu for the week; others, their full menu.
"Just like every other business, we're trying to get a little bit of exposure — to give people an opportunity who haven't tried us to come in and taste what we have to offer," said Steve Arnold, general manager of Fuego Cocina y Tequileria in Clarendon.
The popular Mexican restaurant opened in October, and this will be its first Restaurant Week.
Fuego Cocina is participating in the lunch promotion from noon to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It will open its upstairs and offer some dinner items on the lunch menu, including vegetable enchiladas, chicken enchiladas and puerco pibíl — a grilled pork tenderloin with sour orange, achiote and spicy pickled red onions, Arnold said.
Restaurant Week began as an annual event with fewer than 75 restaurants participating in the entire DC metro area, Patterson said. In 2003, it grew to twice a year.
And the number of participating restaurants has obviously grown — in Arlington alone, that number has tripled just in the last few years, she said.
For the full list of participating restaurants — you can search by neighborhood — visit the Restaurant Week website. And be sure to follow #DMVRW on Twitter to see what restaurants and their guests are saying.
Arlington restaurants participating in the Summer 2013 Restaurant Week:
1330 S. Fair St.
2250 Crystal Drive
Fuego Cocina y Tequileria
2800 Clarendon Blvd.
Fyve at The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City
1250 S. Hayes St.
Jaleo Crystal City
2250-A Crystal Drive
2950 Clarendon Blvd.
La Tasca Spanish Tapas Restaurant & Bar (Clarendon)
2900 Wilson Blvd.
Legal Sea Foods - Crystal City
2301 Jefferson Davis Highway
3195 Wilson Blvd.
3100 N. Washington Blvd.
Mad Rose Tavern
3100 Clarendon Blvd.
2300 Wilson Blvd.
Melting Pot - Arlington
1110 N. Glebe Road
801 N. Glebe Road
1900 Clarendon Blvd.
2761 Washington Blvd.
Willow Restaurant - Arlington
4301 N. Fairfax Drive