The fifth annual Chicago Restaurant Week takes place Feb. 17 through Feb. 26 (ok, so should it really be called Chicago Restaurant Week and a Half?) and, like last year, more than 200 Chicago-area restaurants will participate by offering prix-fixe menus at $22, $33 and $44 (excluding drinks) during lunch and dinner.
In 2011, CRW generated $19.68 million dollars and saw more than 377,000 diners eat at participating restaurants. This year, many restaurants will once again open their doors and will include places like Ai Japanese Restaurant, Manny's, Bar Toma, Nightwood, Grange Hall Burger Bar, The Bedford, Bistrot Zinc, Mexique, Naha, Blackbird, Blue 13, The Florentine, The Gage and so many more. A full list of participating restaurants is online at eatitupchicago.com, where you can also make reservations.
But before Restaurant Week gets into high gear, a new party will kick things off. Girl & The Goat chef/owner Stephanie Izard will host the first annual First Bites Bash on Feb. 2 at Union Station.
The evening, which costs $125, goes from 6 to 9 and will feature chefs from dozens of Chicago's top restaurants, including Spiaggia, Chicago q, LM Restaurant, Table Fifty-Two, C-House, Piccolo Sogno, David Burke's Primehouse, Saigon Sisters, Henri, The Drawing Room, Epic and more. Tickets are now available online and 100 percent of net proceeds will benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
· Chicago Restaurant Week [website]
· First Bites Bash [website]