Get ready, foodies: Summer Restaurant Week returns next week.
From American Prime in Tysons to Zaytinya in Penn Quarter, there’s a load of restaurants offering fixed-price multicourse meals for you to feast on.
Things will look a little different from the past few Restaurant Weeks, when indoor dining across most of the D.C. area was curtailed due to coronavirus restrictions. This summer, all capacity limits have been lifted, but with the spreading delta variant, some parts of the D.C. area have returned to requiring masks indoors.
Even with mask mandates returning, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser encouraged residents to get out and sample the city’s “vibrant” dining scene.
“Restaurant Week is one more opportunity for people to get out and show our support and gratitude for the workers and local businesses that have sacrificed so much to help us protect D.C. and crush the virus,” she said in a statement.
Here’s what you need to know.
- Q: When is Summer Restaurant Week?
Summer Restaurant Week runs Aug. 9 – 15, 2021.
- Q: How many restaurants are participating?
More than 250 restaurants across the D.C. area are expected to take part in the food fest.
Restaurant Week is not limited to restaurants in the District. There are tons of restaurants in Virginia and Maryland, too.
- Q: How much will it cost you?
Multicourse brunch and lunch menus start at $22 per person.
Dinner menus will be offered at price points of $35 and $55 per person.
Some restaurants are also offering to-go meals, which first made an appearance at last year’s Restaurant Week when dining rooms were shuttered. Restaurants offering to-go meals will sell them for $60 or $100 for two people and $100 or $200 for four people.
“All of this was designed to meet diners where they are in terms of comfort level, so whether it’s eating at the restaurant, whether it’s eating outside, inside, to-go, delivery — they have found ways to be flexible and offer diners exactly what they want,” said Kathy Hollinger, president and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, in an interview with WTOP.
- Q: Are there coronavirus restrictions I should be aware of?
There are no capacity limits on indoor dining in any parts of the D.C. area. However, D.C. has mandated masks be worn indoors regardless of a person’s vaccination status in line with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You do not have to wear a mask while sitting at your table, eating and drinking.
Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland have also reinstated mask mandates.
Masks indoors even for vaccinated people are recommended, per the CDC, in areas of “substantial” or “high” transmission rates. You can look up COVID-19 transmission in your county on the CDC’s website.
As for whether it will damper the festive spirit of the weeklong event, Hollinger, the president and CEO of the restaurant association, acknowledged there’s a “fatigue” that has set in for the service industry during the pandemic.
But restaurants, at this point, have adapted to being flexible.
“They know how to do this, their employees know how to do this, and diners now are expected to do the same thing,” Hollinger said. “And we hope that this is short-lived, and that this is somewhat of a pause. And that we will be able to take the steps forward that we were taking early in the summer, where those mandates won’t be in place.”
- Q: Are there other restaurant weeks in the area
Yes. Alexandria, Virginia, later this month, will run its own restaurant week. From Aug. 20-29, more than 70 restaurants in Alexandria will participate.
The promotion offers $49 in dinner for two either in-person or to-go. Many of the restaurants will also offer a $25 dinner for one, either in-person or to-go.
If you’re a foodie in Maryland, good news: Maryland Restaurant Week kicks off next month from Sept. 17-26.
WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.