CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston's first "Restaurant Week," Jan. 27 through Feb. 1, couldn't come at a better time for the eight Charleston restaurants featured during the event. All have lost a great deal of revenue -- and their employees have lost wages and tips -- during the water contamination emergency. The restaurateurs and their staffs are hoping the community will support the effort and visit several of the establishments during the week.
All of the featured restaurants indicated that they are serving and cooking with bottled water, a practice each will continue until their confidence -- and the public's -- in the safety of tap water is restored.
Restaurant Week is an opportunity to sample some of the great culinary talent Charleston has to offer at an affordable price while helping the service community get back on its feet.
The restaurants featured are considered to be among the area's finest: Bluegrass Kitchen, Bridge Road Bistro, Ichiban, Noah's Eclectic Bistro, Paterno's at the Park, Soho's Capitol Market, South Hills Market and Café, and Vandalia Grille.
Each establishment will offer a special three-course dinner: a starter, an entrée and a dessert, all for $30. The prices do not include drinks, taxes and gratuity. However, tea and water will be offered at no additional charge. The regular menu will still be offered at regular menu prices.
Paterno's at the Park
Niki Paterno Curten of Paterno's at the Park said she thinks Restaurant Week will allow their restaurant to shed some misperceptions people may have about Paterno's and other finer restaurants in town.
"Our dress code is 'come as you are.' Our food is upscale and delicious and handcrafted, but we are not a stuffy restaurant at all. It's a great opportunity to get people in the door to try something new for a price they could only eat at a chain restaurant for. We chose our most popular items, our signature dishes, to showcase."
Paterno's at the Park, 601 Morris St., is owned and operated by several members of the Paterno family: Andy Paterno, Mary Jo Paterno, Tony Paterno and Niki Paterno Curten. The chef is Michael Aiello. The menu for the gourmet Italian restaurant is available online at www.paternosatthepark.com and on Facebook. For reservations call 304-205-5482.
Bridge Road Bistro
Another featured restaurant is Bridge Road Bistro, at 915 Bridge Road. It is known for its American farm-to-table cuisine, but also for featuring local jazz musicians. The proprietor is Sherri Wong and the executive chef is John Wright. The Bridge Road Bistro menu can be seen online at www.thebridgeroadbistro.com and on Facebook.
"I see it as a huge opportunity for people to come out and have the cuisine they don't normally have and to avoid the sticker price they may perceive our restaurant to have," said general manager Sandy Call.
"I think when they come here, they will see how affordable our menu is and how casual it is. ... You don't need to be intimidated by these restaurants. We're looking forward to seeing new faces," she added.
To make reservations, call 304-720-3500.
South Hills Market and Café
Richard Arbaugh, owner and chef of South Hills Market and Café, echoed Call's thoughts about the affordability of his menu, something that is often misperceived by people who haven't been to the café.
Restaurant Week is "a good way for us to get guests that might not travel outside their usual places. We have something for everyone. I tried to use some of the recipes that people already love with some new items. I wanted to give people options," he said.
South Hills Market and Café, 1010 Bridge Road, is known as a "new American cuisine" restaurant because of its focus on local, seasonal, high-quality ingredients. Its menu is online at www.southhillsmarket.com and Facebook.
For reservations, call 304-345-2585.
Soho's Capitol Market
Sharon Sohovich, owner of Soho's Capitol Market, at 800 Smith St., sees Restaurant Week as a bright spot during a very trying time for area residents.
"It's going to be a great thing for everybody. It's a good opportunity for people to go out and try new menu items and places they might not normally try," Sohovich said.
"It's good for the businesses too because there's been a lot of lost revenue for so many businesses of all types," she added.
Soho's Capitol Market is known for its gourmet Italian cuisine.
In choosing the menu for the event, "We were trying to come up with customer favorites and keep it affordable. The items we chose are our most popular items," said chef Amie Dodson.