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Trying new restaurants is always great, but you'd be hard-pressed to find the time to sample them all, especially the classier establishments. I tend to save them for special occasions.
This week, you can try unique menus at many of Dayton's classiest places for reduced prices, all while raising money for charity. I would call that a special occasion.
The Semi-annual Restaurant Week kicks off Sunday, July 22, and it promises to bring out the best of what area chefs have to offer.
Amy Zahora is executive director of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association, the group holding the event. She said there are up to 60 restaurants participating this time around, many of which are newly opened and participating in their first week.
"We choose weeks out of the year that are slower times for various reasons," Zahora told me. "We do one in the winter when they see a slowdown after Christmas, and they just see a slowdown and the end of July for various reasons."
The restaurants in question will have different and unusual menus for the week, many offering three course meals for $20-$30. Many of these places are higher priced normally, so it's a great chance to sample what they can do.
Restaurants of all kinds will be participating. Established places include Oakwood Club, which is offering Angus Prime Rib Au Jus, and Atlantic Salmon in Puff Pastry with Brandy Shrimp Sauce.
Sweeney's in Centerville will have Crab and Scallop Stuffed Sole in Lobster Cream Sauce, Blue Corn Meal Dusted Rainbow Trout, and Bourbon BBQ Salmon. Just when you thought Dayton's best couldn't get any better.
"It gives the restaurants an opportunity to whip up something new, and raise some money for charity." Zahora said.
Newcomers include Taste, which opened its doors last fall in Trotwood, which is showing off Walleye Pike in white wine artichoke sauce, Sautéed Chicken in mushroom garlic sauce, and Cajun Prime Ribeye, its inaugural showing for the week.
If the delicious menus aren't enough of a draw, this restaurant week will raise money for a number of local charities, including the Miami Valley Food Bank, March of Dimes, Dayton Children's Medical Center, A Special Wish Foundation and more.
"It's always exciting to see the numbers we generate to businesses," Zahora said. "It's also a great chance for the public to try restaurants they wouldn't normally try."
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