Jan 25, 2023 - Food and Drink

San Antonio Restaurant Week features over 100 menus

Illustration of repeating dinner plate emojis with smiley faces on them.

Restaurant Week is underway in San Antonio. Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Restaurant Week, a biannual food event organized by nonprofit Culinaria, is around for a few more days.

Why it matters: The citywide promotion, which started in 2010, exposes restaurants to new clientele by offering prix fixe menus at a lower price point than a full meal would normally cost.

How it works: Restaurants create menus for brunch, lunch and/or dinner for the event, which takes place in January and August. The winter edition started Jan. 16 and lasts through Saturday.

  • Restaurants do not pay to participate, but they donate back to Culinaria on a sliding scale: $1 for each meal sold during brunch, $2 for lunch and $3-$5 for dinner, depending on the meal price.
  • Participating eateries range from casual restaurants like Mi Roti at Pearl's Food Hall to elevated dining experiences like Up Scale. Menus are available here.
  • The funds are then funneled back to the local hospitality industry, Culinaria vice president Ginger Robinson tells Axios.

Yes, but: Some critics of the promotion say it doesn't actually benefit the participating restaurants because many of the Restaurant Week diners don't return to the restaurants during the rest of the year.

  • The idea started in 1992 in New York City and has now picked up steam in cities across the country.

What they're saying: Robinson says the mission of the local event remains to support restaurants through slower months. Leo Davila, chef-owner of Stixs & Stone, says many of his regulars were introduced to Stixs & Stone during Restaurant Week.

  • "This is our fourth time participating over the span of a year and a half and each time it gets better. During the event we see an increase in customers by at least a double," he tells Axios.

Flashback: In April 2020, Culinaria used Restaurant Week funds to provide aid for furloughed restaurant workers and businesses hurt by the pandemic.

  • HospitALLity House initiative was launched to provide free meals for industry workers.
  • An emergency relief fund was also created to assist employees as restaurants shut down.
  • Robinson says events like Restaurant Week help rebuild their fund.

Zoom out: San Antonio is seeing a resurgence in people dining out, according to OpenTable data.

  • "It's good to see that we're bouncing back. It was definitely a tough time and I don't think by any means that it's through — there are still shortages, still staffing issues — but I think for the most part, it is bouncing back and we're optimistic about the progress," Robinson says.

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