Winter Restaurant Week is returning to downtown Fredericksburg on Friday, and diners can eat three square meals a day at local eateries—for a low price.
That’s because breakfast is coming to Restaurant Week for the first time in Fredericksburg.
Danelle Rose, manager of the visitor center and tourism with the Fredericksburg Economic Development and Tourism office, said Eileen’s Bakery, Mercantile, Bistro at Courtyard Marriott, Agora Downtown Coffee Shop and Italian Station will offer $6.19 and $10.19 breakfast options this year.
Price points reflect the “19 in 2019” and range from $5.19 for featured beer and cocktails options, $6.19 for a coffee and pastry and coursed meals from $10.19, $20.19 and $30.19.
“There are price points for everyone, even for people that are on a budget,” Rose said.
Rose said diners can check out the featured menus on the website and should make reservations if able, due to the popularity of the weeklong event, which runs through Jan. 27.
Last year, more than 15,500 plates were sold, and The Confident Rabbit had the most sold with just over 2,100.
She pointed out the unique dining experiences to be had downtown: restaurants that have been in business for over 30 years like La Petite Auberge, restaurants in beautiful historic buildings such as Kenmore Inn, and even restaurants that can boast Abraham Lincoln once stood on its steps, like FOODE.
Beth Black, co-owner of FOODE and Mercantile in downtown Fredericksburg, said both restaurants have participated in the city’s Restaurant Week since they opened. FOODE launched in Fredericksburg in 2011, and Mercantile began in 2015.
“What Mercantile and FOODE have in common is the notion that we can offer you your favorite dishes—the ones that strike up memories and hit that nostalgic spot—while serving up a twist or two in the process,” Black said. “Because Mercantile focuses on the breakfast and lunch crowd, while FOODE puts its spin on lunch and dinner dishes, we try to cover a wide array of tastes. Mercantile is bringing back a couple of its more popular dishes, like the original roasted turkey sandwich, and FOODE is cooking up some cold-weather favorites for the dinner three-course tasting menu.”
She said that restaurant week is an opportunity to show everyone what Fredericksburg’s culinary scene has to offer, “So we push those signature dishes that define our business, our city and the state of Virginia ... with some of our favorite trends thrown in, too.”
She urged diners to think out of the box when choosing restaurants.
While Mercantile has an array of breakfast items, “we also have really creative, fun lunch options, too,” she said. And FOODE is “ever-growing its craft cocktail and wine scene, so look for some seasonal creations that will pair perfectly with our dishes.”
Black said the fixed price points—whether it’s $10.19, $20.19 or $30.19—means the kitchen is working hard to offer as much as they can.
“So while they can expect multiple courses for that price, many of us will be serving smaller portions in order to meet the logistics,” she said. “It’s still a win-win for everyone.”
New to the event this year is recently opened The Falafel Joint. The restaurant’s motto is “peace, love, and falafel.” For owner Azadeh Rahmani, that reflects how the eatery caters to a variety of diets, such as vegan and gluten-free, while offering a relaxed atmosphere where diners can get to know their community.
“We want our community to have a place where they enjoy simple but good food that we prepare from scratch,” said Rahmani. “We stay true to old-world recipes and make sure everything is done properly as to ensure Fredericksburg’s first falafel experience is the best it can be.”
While new customers have a chance to explore a local restaurant they haven’t been to yet, regulars have a chance to get their favorites at a really great price.
“We have spent a lot of our time here treating our customers with an introduction to what falafel is,” she said. “Restaurant Week is the perfect time to come in and experience it all. We also remind our customers that our falafel is totally vegan/gluten-free and our pita is vegan.”
Returning this year to the event is the Restaurant Week Passport.
Rose said it was a big hit last year, when it was first introduced.
Participants take a passport book, available at the visitor’s center or printed out from the restaurant week website, to a participating venue. After their meal, they receive a stamp on the passport, and once five stamps are collected, the passport can be turned in for the chance to win a $250 downtown gift card.
Last year, more than 300 passports were turned in. The passport program runs only during the Winter Restaurant Week.