Restaurant Week DC: Fine dining made accessible to college students
Restaurant week affords students the opportunity to immerse themselves in DC’s rich culinary traditions
Those looking to escape the cold and immerse themselves in the delicious and diverse D.C. food scene found just that at the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington's bi-annual Restaurant Week.
Originally founded to promote local restaurants after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, this event blossomed into an exciting chance for D.C. residents and foodies to explore the city's wide variety of culinary offerings and support local businesses.
This year, around 250 local restaurants took part in Restaurant Week from Jan. 17-23, each designing a special menu that offered patrons a variety of three course meals. These meals were priced reasonably at $25 per person for lunch or brunch, and $40-$55 per person for dinner. From Italian to Thai and Mexican cuisine, the choices were seemingly endless with something to satisfy every craving. They also represented the city’s incredible cultural diversity, featuring dishes and chefs from all around the world.
Restaurant Week has gained extra significance in the past couple of years due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hit the restaurant industry particularly hard due to government restrictions and health concerns. For many restaurants, Restaurant Week is a crucial opportunity to boost business and maintain the culture of one of the country’s best food cities. Most restaurants offered takeout options to accommodate those who didn’t feel comfortable dining out during the Omicron variant surge.
Restaurant Week might seem intimidating to a college student. The name conjures an image as such: tables lined with linen cloth, sparkling cutlery wrapped elaborately in silk napkins and patrons with suits and high-profile diplomatic jobs. This scene would feel strange for those of us accustomed to the Terrace Dining Room with its underwhelming food and brash, fluorescent lighting. Most often on weekends, college students seek out restaurants and eateries with tasty, but cheap food and drink. This usually means the fast food options in Tenleytown or adjoining neighborhoods.
Restaurant Week offers an escape into the broader D.C. community and an opportunity to slow down mealtime. For the full experience, it is recommended you find a few friends to savor the meal with. In our workaholic culture, meals are often spent alone, bites are hastily taken between classes, and worse yet, lunch is eaten while walking on the go. Meals, however, are a crucial part of our regeneration as students and Restaurant Week offers that pause in which you can enjoy the therapeutic process of enjoying a meal with loved ones.
It’s a right of passage for those who’ve recently moved to D.C., as food is integral to the city’s evolution. D.C. has 23 restaurants with Michelin stars, highlighting the rich culinary traditions that are prevalent in the city. Through the interactive and easy-to-use Restaurant Week website, you can peruse the many options, some of which are the Michelin star restaurants or eateries that boast D.C. favorites. On the website, you are able to filter the search per your preferences.
For college students and D.C. residents alike, Restaurant Week remains an easy, affordable way to support local businesses. For those who didn’t get a chance to participate this winter, the next Restaurant Week is set to happen again this August.