DC restaurants hope for a smooth restaurant week without evidence of vax

Nearly two years into the pandemic, and Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Weeks still aren’t normal, but this year’s Winter Restaurant Week aims to feel more normal.

Nearly two years into the pandemic, and Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Weeks still aren’t normal, but this year’s Winter Restaurant Week, which begins Jan. 17, aims to feel more normal, with a renewed focus on meals on site.

Even so, the nearly 200 Washington-area restaurants participating in Winter Restaurant Week with multi-course brunches, lunches and special-priced dinners are still learning which options have become popular mainstays during the pandemic.

“We have takeout of the week from the restaurant. We of course have delivery, which was not always a custom during Restaurant Week as it is designed to get people into restaurants. But we also promote the many restaurants that offer diners an option to eat out if they choose to do so,” said Kathy Hollinger, president and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, which sponsors the twice-yearly DC area food weeks. .

Winter Restaurant Week follows another curveball thrown at DC-area restaurants, with the omicron variant COVID-19 and infections coming just as the holidays arrived.

“While everyone was somewhat aware that we had to deal with variations, I don’t think people fully recognized how badly it would disrupt their operations over the holiday season,” Hollinger said.

“We had many restaurants that had to completely reorient their thinking or close during a time of year that is very festive, and a year that we thought was different from last year where there could be celebration, but that just wasn’t the case. It will not arrive.

Omicron will be a wildcard for participation in Winter Restaurant Week. The same goes for the new district vaccination requirement. From January 15, just two days before the start of Restaurant Week, proof of the first dose of vaccination will be required for all diners aged 12 and over in restaurants and bars for indoor dining. .

Winter Restaurant Week begins Jan. 17, and many participating DC-area restaurants are hoping for a return to normal. (Getty Images/Hemera/Yuri Checcucci)

“We have dozens of restaurants already doing this. So it might not be such a big culture shift for many in DC. I encourage a lot of kindness as they choose to support these restaurants. They support these restaurants in a way that keeps the whole community safe,” Hollinger said.

As has happened in New York and elsewhere where proof of vaccination is required, DC restaurant staff may face the added stress of enforcing city policy. DC requires all restaurants to prominently display, prior to entry, a notice of the requirement.

“(The enforcement of this rule) is an additional stressor imposed on the owner and the employee. We encourage (restaurants) to find a nice and easy way with lots of signage that provides some of what you hope an employee or staff member doesn’t have to go into a lot of detail but is very transparent mentioned Hollinger.

Restaurants participating in Winter Restaurant Week specials all have uniform menu prices. Multi-course brunch and lunch menus are $25 per person and multi-course dinner menus are $40 or $55 for on-site dining. Take-out meals for two people are $70 or $100 and $140 or $200 for four people.

Participating restaurants can be found online.

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