It's that time again: it's ass-freezingly cold out, the prospect of yet another hearty soup or stew makes you want to scream, and everyone from the corner pasta shop to the Mag Mile tourist joints are having a hard time putting butts in seats. That's right, folks, Restaurant Week is here! Or rather, Restaurant Weeks.
The official Chicago Restaurant Week, which includes over 150 participating restaurants offering three-course dinners at $32 and lunch at $22, doesn't kick off until February 19, but reservations are already open. It's worth picking up the phone now to save your place at the hottest tickets — special-occasion spots like Blackbird, NoMI, and Topolobampo get you the most bang for your buck, experience-wise if not food-wise. If you can't wait until February for your prix fixe fix, though, two upstart Restaurant Weeks are kicking off sooner.
Launching this Friday, January 8, and running through the 15th is The Local Tourist Restaurant Week, featuring 17 restaurants with $25 three-course lunches and $35 three-course dinners. (There's some overlap between TLT's and the original Restaurant Week — one sixtyblue, for example — though TLT's prix fixe runs three bucks higher at each meal. Then again, 10% of the price goes to charity, so offsetting that, it's almost even.)
And then kicking off January 18 is Chicago Originals Restaurant Week, a coalition of "local, independent" restaurants (like Cyrano's Bistrot and Sweets and Savories) offering three- and four-course dinners for $29.10. Chicago Originals ends January 31.
Sadly, as far as we're aware, none of the restaurants participating in restaurant week heard our plea from last year about offering a glass of wine instead of the dessert option, so get your sweet tooth ready.