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Vermont Restaurant Week 2013: April 26-May 5

Looking for info about this year's vendors? Check out our Vermont Restaurant Week 2014 post. Is it that time again already? Yup! Vermont Restaurant Week is back, with feasts and festivities all over the state beginning today - Friday, April 26. And if you struggled with last year's overwhelming list of roughly 80 participating restaurants, wait 'til you get a load of the 104 who've signed up to be a part of VT Restaurant Week 2013! I'm not going to provide the entire list here (for that you'll have to go to the official site's "Restaurants" page), but I will direct your attention to a few of our closest neighbors I'm considering visiting here in Winooski, just across the bridge in Burlington and up the street in Colchester:

Winooski, VT Restaurants

  • Our House Bistro -  Always wondered what Our House means by "Twisted Comfort Food" in their tagline? Find out over the next week with a variety of different options to choose from. Our House is offering $10 lunch specials as well as $15 and $20 dinners. (restaurant website)
  • Peking Duck House - Peking Duck has been around for decades (and a favorite in my family), but as far as I know this is the first time they've participated in VTRW. And with their first appearance they've made a strong showing, ensuring there's an option for everyone in their $15 fixed price menu with well over a dozen entree choices. (restaurant website)

Burlington, VT Restaurants

  • ONE Pepper Grill - This casual dining joint in the Old North End (ONE) kept things simple with a $25 3-course meal menu, with 2 entrée options - smoked pulled pork sandwich or portabello mushroom melt. (restaurant website)
  • Bluebird Barbecue - Having never been I can't provide my personal testimony on the food, but I've heard nothing but rave reviews from everyone I know who has eaten at this new BBQ spot. They also chose to keep the VTRW menu simple with $25 3-course meals, with 3 entrée options - Texas-style Brisket, half chicken and half rack of ribs. )Sorry vegetarians - but most of the other restaurants will have something for you.) (restaurant website)
Note: There are obviously many more BTV restaurants participating, these are just a couple very near our offices in Winooski.

Colchester, VT Restaurants

  • Junior's Italian - If your a pasta-vore, then you probably already know about the treasures you'll find on the regular menu at this higher-end Italian restaurant just minutes from downtown Burlington on the Winooski/Colchester line. But whether you're new to Junior's or a regular, you're sure to love one of the options on their $25 restaurant week menu. (restaurant website)
  • Three Brothers Pizza - As the name indicates, this pizza place is owned and operated by 3 brothers from Colchester and has quite a number of unusual but delicious specialty pizzas and various other unique items on their regular menu, so be sure to check those out when you stop in, but the restaurant week featured items will give you a good taste of what they're all about - Switchback Pizza, Vermont Shed BBQ Bacon Burger or Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Alfredo. (restaurant website)

Help Hungry Families in VT

If you're new to the state or just weren't aware of past "Vermont Restaurant Weeks", then you're probably wondering what this is all about - why the special menus, and why are all of these restaurants doing this at the same time? Beyond providing affordable and delicious options to encourage many of us to try something new, VTRW is a charity event to raise money to feed the less fortunate. The FAQs on the official site summarize it better than I can:
Q. What is Vermont Restaurant Week?
A. From April 26-May 5, 2013, participating restaurants will offer special, prix-fixe menus showcasing their chefs’ greatest dishes. Those menus will feature three-course dinners (e.g. appetizer, entreé and dessert) priced at $15, $25 or $35 per person. Select restaurants offer discounted lunches that are usually $10 or less. The week also includes a special calendar of special, food-themed events.
Q. How does Vermont Foodbank benefit?
A. 10% of the proceeds from sponsorships and restaurant participation fees and 100% of event admissions will be donated to Vermont Foodbank.
So feel free to gorge yourself all week next week - it's for a good cause! I'll point you back to the official VT Restaurant Week site to learn more, but from the customer standpoint the process is pretty simple:
  1. Choose a restaurant
  2. Make a reservation
  3. Ask for the special menu
Be sure to follow VTRW on Facebook and Twitter as well and share your experiences over the next week. And I'm looking for recommendations for places to try out next week, so feel free to include yours in the comments below.