As Downtown Alton once again bounces back from floodwater battles, the annual Restaurant Week kicks off this weekend, ensuring tourism and community is alive and well throughout the Riverbend.
“We are so excited about the energy behind celebrating our local restaurants, both from people that love to eat at them and the restaurateurs themselves,” Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO Brett Stawar said. “This year’s lineup has some incredible menus with a wide variety of choices.”
Since starting the annual event in 2012, Stawar has approached the venture not just as another way to boost the local economy and increase tourism, but also a lighthearted and fun way to get residents involved and connected with the restaurant owners who devote so much of themselves to the community.
“At the Alton Visitor Center, we’ve all been counting our calories this week so we can savor all the great flavors on board for Alton Restaurant Week,” Stawar said. “With 19, it will be hard to hit them all, but not impossible over the 10-day period.”
Establishments participating this year include iconic mainstays Castelli’s Restaurant at 255 (3400 Fosterburg Road), Gentelin’s on Broadway (122 E. Broadway), Jimmy the Greek’s (1856 E. Broadway), Johnson’s Corner (2000 State St.), Franco’s Restaurant (inside the Atrium Hotel and Conference Center on Homer Adams Parkway), My Just Desserts (31 E. Broadway), Tony’s Restaurant (312 Piasa St.), Bossanova Restaurant and Lounge (112 W. Third St.), Rib City (201 E. Center Drive), Reeta Marie’s Country Store (402 S. Maple in Brighton), Carver’s BBQ (2716 Grovelin St. in Godfrey), the Fin Inn (1500 W. Main St. in Grafton) and the Grafton Winery and Brewhaus (300 W. Main St. in Grafton).
In addition, some of the area’s newer faces are participating as well, including 4204 Main Street Brewing Company (180 E. Center Street), Bluff City Grill (102 W. Ninth Street), Elijah P’s (401 Piasa St.), Old Bakery Beer Company (400 Landmarks Blvd.), Journey (the new restaurant inside the Alton Argosy Casino) and State Street Market (under new ownership, 208 State St.).
Set prices for Restaurant Week are $10 for lunch and $25 for dinner (tip and gratuity not included). Not all of the restaurants are open for both lunch and dinner specials; check hours of operation.
From Jan. 15 until 25, diners can take advantage of these special deals, sampling a variety of seafood, pizza, steaks, chicken, pasta, burgers and more from area eateries they may have been wanting to try but never made the “thyme.” As always, convenience is paramount, with no passes to carry or punch cards to buy.
Opened in 1979, Johnson’s Corner has participated in Restaurant Week since its inception. For the lunch special, it is offering a 12-inch, two-topping pizza and salad.
“We have a really good deal for the dinner special, as well,” owner Jimmy Johnson said. “We have two 8-ounce bacon wrapped sirloins, served with two sides. There also are other good prices here and some good soups featured that week.
“We want an inexpensive — not cheap, but inexpensive — experience for our customers.”
For Glenn and Terri Beaubien, who took ownership of State Street Market last summer, this will be their second Restaurant Week.
“Last summer’s event was wonderful,” Glenn said. “It did great for us.”
Open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and dinner from 5 until 8 p.m. on Monday and Thursday (with live music), State Street will offer a free cup of soup or crepe dessert with the lunch combo and any two small plate, or tapas items with a select bottle of wine for the dinner special.
Stawar says the idea was hatched in 2012 from the Alton Regional CVB working with restaurant tours and local restaurant owners.
“It went over really well, so after the success of the first year we added the All-Star Restaurant Week in the summer,” Stawar said.
Again this year, those who participate can visit the Alton Visitor Center at 200 Piasa St. and present their meal receipt to receive a free Alton Restaurant Week glass, this year featuring Miles Davis (while supplies last).
For more information, contact the restaurants directly or visit www.altonrestaurantweek.com.
Is anyone planning to hit all 19 establishments during the event? If so, tell us about your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org.