Terri’s Restaurant Week Preview
From Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement
Once upon a time, I was a picky eater, limiting myself to dishes from my childhood and turning up my nose at anything that was not within that realm. One day I miraculously grew up after discovering a locally-owned restaurant with friends that challenged my palate and forced me to think differently about food.
From that moment on, the possibilities were limitless and thankfully, I found myself in Champaign County, where my now expanding palate had endless options to be satiated. Several years ago, I was told by an editor at Midwest Living that Champaign-Urbana was nominated as one of the Greatest Midwest Food Towns among mid-sized cities. I was not in the least surprised given all that our community has to offer—local flavors from our area farmers and producers, international delights thanks to the people that come to our community from all over the world, and food trucks with that street food that is irresistible. We don’t lack in options, and around every corner, you can have “the best” of just about anything. Knowing all of this, we wanted everyone else to know so we worked tirelessly to make sure we walked away with the Greatest Midwest Food Town title, and we got it.
While we are in the Midwest and suffer from the humble mentality that comes from our roots, we’re learning that a little bragging is necessary. That’s why our annual Champaign County Area Restaurant Week, happening January 28–February 5, is such a critical event to showcase our culinary scene and reinforce our “greatest” status. This is year six of organizing the event, and it hasn’t been without its challenges. I’d give anything to go back to the year where everyone closed one night because of the polar vortex.
The past two years have proven to be a challenge for restaurants around the globe, but it feels personal for us at Visit Champaign County and we’re putting everything we have into getting people out into our restaurants in whatever way they feel comfortable and safe. Our restaurants are craving it too. 2022 will be our biggest Restaurant Week yet, with 35 restaurants participating (and still growing!) It will once again show off all those reasons our culinary scene is unmatched for a community of our size.
Here's some dishes that may challenge your palate (and yes, are ones that I will likely indulge in):
While these are some of the things I can’t wait for, all the menus are outstanding. I’ve spent weeks gathering them for our hard-working restauranteurs and their chefs who want to show off their food for you. My challenge to you is to go out to someplace new, or try a dish you’ve never had.
Discover our award-winning culinary scene, be patient and kind, and tip generously.
Don’t forget to share those dishes you love with us! Use #ccrestaurantweek on social media for your chance to win a $100 gift card to a participating restaurant of your choice!