Beginning Jan. 16, the popular Alton Restaurant Week is back and ready to fill bellies all over the Greater Alton area.
“This is a chance to celebrate our family-owned businesses and unique flavors in the area,” Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Brett Stawar said. “People love that mainstays such as Castelli’s (Restaurant at 255) and Johnson’s Corner participate every year, and we are excited to have the newer additions, as well.”
Those new additions include the Fin Inn in Grafton, Reeta Marie’s Country Store in Brighton, and BBQ Carver’s in Godfrey.
The manager of the Fin Inn, open since 1981, said her restaurant is excited to be involved and hopes the specialized menu she has prepared brings many new and hungry patrons.
“This sounded like a chance at a lot of exposure,” she said. “I deal with the visitor’s center a lot and they are always so nice and accommodating.
Those interested in supporting the event can choose from 16 area restaurants between Jan. 16 and Jan. 25, where they can enjoy lunch for a set price of $10 or dinner for $25 (tax and gratuity not included). There is no need to register online, clip coupons or purchase passes; simply tell the restaurant staff you would like to participate in Alton Restaurant Week.
Stawar says the idea was hatched in 2012 from the Alton Regional CVB working with restaurant tours and local restaurant owners.
“Specifically, Tracey (Castelli) with Castelli’s and Kary Lockwood at State Street Market helped us to rally the others and served as co-chairs in the past,” Stawar said. “It went over really well, so after the success of the first year we added the All-Star Restaurant Week each summer.”
Again this year, those who participate can visit the Alton Visitor Center at 200 Piasa St. between Jan. 16 and Jan. 25 and present their meal receipt to receive a free Alton Restaurant Week glass.
“The overwhelming demand from our last All-Star Restaurant Week in July caused us to run out of glasses,” Stawar said. “This year, we have 700 glasses to give away, so we are prepared for a rush.”
Sponsored by Robert “Chick” Fritz Distributing in Bethalto, the glasses this year are adorned with a beautiful shot of the Clark Bridge with an eagle flying overhead.
“We are looking forward to seeing people come in and get their glasses,” Stawar said. “It will give us a chance to talk to them about their dining experience and remind them of the other great restaurants in the area.
“We also invite St. Louis to come and dine with us. We work hard to draw people in from outside the region.”
Ann Badasch, owner of My Just Desserts in Alton, says the week always is a busy one for herself and her staff.
“It is a program that has grown,” she said. “We always look forward to participating, and we know it is always popular with local residents. It’s a good time for all of us.”
My Just Desserts opened for business in 1984 and puts together a baseball theme each year for the All-Star Restaurant Week in the summer and an eagle theme each January.
Bluff City Grill, Amarillo Tex’s Steakhouse, Castelli’s Restaurant at 255, Franco’s Restaurant and Johnson’s Corner (all in Alton), BBQ Carver’s in Godfrey, and the Grafton Winery and Brewhaus and Fin Inn in Grafton all will provide lunch and dinner options.
My Just Desserts and State Street Market in Alton, Aerie’s Riverview Winery in Grafton, and Reeta Marie’s Country Store in Brighton will offer lunch during the event, while Gentelin’s on Broadway, Bossanova Restaurant and Martini Lounge, Outfitter’s Grill at Argosy Casino Alton, and Tony’s Restaurant, all in Alton, will be open for dinner selections.
Meal guests also can take a photo of their plate and post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest with the hashtag #AltonRW2015 to enter a contest for gift certificates and prizes.
For more information, contact the restaurants directly or visit the website at www.altonrestaurantweek.com.
Is anyone planning to hit all 16 restaurants during the event? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your story! Face it, not participating just adds up to a “missed steak.”