Restaurant Week is coming at the perfect time for local eateries that have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colonial Tavern Home to the Irish Brigade has served up Irish fare in its historic building for 16 years. Manager Deidre Payne said they hope to make it to 17 next year, and are hopeful their specials—including those they’re cooking up just for Restaurant Week—will allow them to do just that.
Fredericksburg’s annual event runs from Aug. 14–23 and offers locally crafted recipes that you can eat in multiple locales. To cater to the decreased indoor seating and isolation needs of customers, restaurants are offering curbside pickup, outdoor picnic fare and take-home meal kits, along with dine-in service.
The 29 participating restaurants in the city are offering menus with breakfast, lunch, dinner and drink specials at price points in the “20 of 2020” range: from $4.20 and $40.20. Menus and more information can be found at fredericksburgrestaurantweek.com.
At Colonial Tavern, the large patio is still open, and the restaurant is offering live music on weekends along with the food. During the weeklong event, Payne and her staff will serve up a family-sized shepherd’s pie with a loaf of Irish soda bread and raspberry butter. They’ll also offer two Dublin half racks of pork ribs, with a round of macaroni and cheese and the homemade bread.
“We’re trying to do this the right way,” Payne said. Seating indoors is limited, staff and customers are wearing masks, and they’ve even launched an online menu at colonialtavern.fredtakeout.com for those wary of touching a physical menu.
Tapa Rio, located on Sophia Street along the Rappahannock River, is working similarly to keep staff and customers safe.
Ruth Ware, who owns the restaurant with her family, said since COVID-19, they have placed all indoor and outdoor tables 6 feet apart as a precaution.
But their river-facing location allows for private, romantic dining. They have places tables for two overlooking the water and have expanded use of their patio.
For Restaurant Week, Tapa Rio will offer dine-in, as well as on the patio, curbside pickup and delivery through DoorDash.
“We hope that our first-time customers may experience the true, traditional Latin and Italian tapa plates we serve,” Ware said.
To display that, they will offer two choices: meals for $20.20 or $30.20 that mix and match pizza, paella, cold plates and desserts.
Wherever you choose to eat, Fredericksburg Visitor Center manager Danelle Rose said takeout can be just as fun as dining in.
“The best thing about enjoying takeout is you can enjoy it anywhere,” she said. “On a blanket in a Hurkamp Park, watching the trains at City Dock, or from the comfort of your home. A few restaurants are offering pizza take-home kits so you can make a meal with your loved ones.”
According to Rose, along with the food specials, there are ways to win prizes and interact with the restaurants through Fredericksburg’s new Traipse app (traipse.co/fredericksburg). When arriving at a participating restaurant for your order, open the app and complete the available challenge at that location. After ordering and completing challenges from at least five restaurants, you will be prompted to fill out a prize entry form for the chance to win downtown gift cards and merchandise. The deadline to participate is Aug. 24 at 5 p.m.
She said that as restaurant patrons follow along with the app and when interacting with service staff, “do not forget to wear a mask, keep a proper distance from others, wash hands often, and if you feel sick, are showing any symptoms of being sick, or have been around others who are sick, stay home.”
Participating restaurants include: 25-30 Espresso, Capital Ale House, Brock’s Riverside Grill, Italian Station, The Alpine Chef, Mercantile, Pimenta, Freedom Society Tea + Gifts, Tapa Rio, Courtyard by Marriott, Castiglia’s, Colonial Tavern, Deutschland Downtown, Eileen’s Bakery & Café, Foode, J. Brian’s Tap Room, La Petite Auberge, Orofino, The Rec Center FXBG, Ristorante Renato, Sammy T’s, Sedona Taphouse, Spencer Devon Brewing, Sunken Well Tavern, Vivify and X-Quizit Coffee.
So, grab your mask and grab some good food.
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