Restaurant Week takes place every year in Louisville. Cafés and restaurants present new dishes, with a proportion of takings going to charity.
The annual restaurant week this year took place 22-28 February. Organisers are using events like these to develop culinary tourism in the town. The concept is to showcase Louisville’s culture, and at the same time allow people to try something new and visit less well-known places and establishments in the town. The event is organised by the Kentucky Restaurant Association and the Louisville tourism portal.
For a whole week 18 restaurants in Louisville offer fixed-price three-course menus at 26, 36 or 46 dollars. They can offer all three menus or just one, and the offer is also valid for takeaways.
One dollar from every order goes to charity. This year, the event supported LEE – Let’s Empower Employment. Restaurant business professionals and chefs set up the LEE initiative in Louisville in 2018 after identifying a need to increase diversity, training and equality in their own restaurants. They run culinary training courses for locals in the restaurant industry and assist with restaurant relaunches. In 2020, charity relief was given to organisations helping the homeless and providing support to those looking for work.
This is an example of a lunch for 26 dollars: first course is a choice of Caesar salad with parmesan crisps and garlic toast, or cream of tomato soup covered with puff pastry. Second course is a sandwich with sliced turkey breast, avocado, dried tomatoes, lettuce, onion, apple bacon, hand-made crisps and grilled salmon with spring onions, jasmine rice, seasonal vegetables and romesco sauce. There is a mini-dessert to finish.
As well as restaurant week, during the year there are other themed events in the city which are devoted to one dish, for example, the burger or pizza. Organisers consider large-scale city-wide events like these to be much safer than food festivals during the pandemic.
In April, restaurants will host the first Louisville taco week. A taco is a traditional Mexican dish which consists of a maize or wheat tortilla with various fillings. All week establishments will be offering special tacos for two dollars, with a minimum order of three tacos including takeaways.
A burger week is to be held in Louisville at the end of July, and the fixed price will be 6 dollars. Every restaurateur and chef will be preparing their own variation on the burger.
A similar project called “Restaurant weeks” was held in Perm in 2014. For 17 days, 11 of the city’s best restaurants offered a special gastronomic menu at an affordable fixed price. Lunch cost 300 roubles and dinner cost 650 roubles. Each restaurant decided for themselves which dishes they would present at the festival excluding the lunchtime menu. Chain restaurants were not invited to take part, but only establishments with roots in Perm. The aim was to show residents how accessible and natural it is to go to a restaurant.