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10th La Grange Restaurant Week kicks off Friday

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By Steve Metsch

For the 10th straight year, folks are invited to visit old favorites and try unfamiliar places during the La Grange Restaurant Week.

“It’s a healthy way of building the community, getting people to try new things,” said Zach Molokie, culinary director for Cloud 9 Hospitality, which owns Barrel House Social.

“I think it’s all friendly competition,” he added. “It’s not who does the best menu.”

Molokie is excited about seeing new faces during Restaurant Week. So is Kama Bistro owner Agnes Kalusiewicz.

“The neighborhood needs something like this,” Kalusiewicz said. “It’s definitely interesting trying something new. Restaurant Week offers that.”

Their two eateries are among the 19 restaurants participating in the 10-day event that runs from Friday, Feb. 25, through Sunday, March 6.

Put together by the La Grange Business Association, the event is designed to promote local dining by having restaurants offer special deals on cuisine.

LGBA Executive Director Nancy Cummings said the week “has been well-embraced in La Grange.”

“Restaurant weeks are very popular in many communities because it does give the local restaurant operators a chance to showcase some of their signature items,” Cummings said.

“It allows people to sample restaurants, maybe discover restaurants they hadn’t been to before, and kind of experience all the different culinary variety in the community,” Cummings said.

She knows we all tend to have our favorite restaurants. Restaurant Week gives people a chance to try unfamiliar places, and maybe get a new favorite or two.

“It’s multicourse menus that are very reasonably priced, $20, $30, $40 and up in some places,” Cummings said. “That entices people to try a new place. They can choose from a great menu with reasonable prices.”

Visit www.lgba.com to learn more about Restaurant Week, which restaurants are participating and what menu items they offer.

“The restaurant owners are very excited about it this year,” Cummings said. “Coming off the two years they’ve experienced, they’re excited about seeing people dining out. A lot of the menus are also available for carryout.”

Owners are “still reeling from the effects” of the pandemic and how it created issues with the supply chain, transportation, staffing and COVID-19 protocol, she said.

“The local community has been incredibly supportive in patronizing local restaurants,” Cummings said.

Molokie and Kalusiewicz are grateful.

“Restaurant Week to us is a time for us to express and showcase our food. Guests can come in and try three courses for $30, it’s our menu at a discounted rate,” Molokie said.

Diners can choose between several appetizers, entrees and desserts to try. Wine bottles have reduced prices.

Molokie has noticed an increase in new visitors after previous Restaurant Weeks.

The same holds true at Kama Bistro, said Kalusiewicz.

Her husband, Chef Vikram Singh, is in charge of the kitchen where regional Indian and Indian-inspired meals are prepared.

A $40 dinner menu is being offered at Kama Bistro, she said.

Kalusiewicz likes how the restaurant owners are working together with a common goal.

“Everyone is seeing lower diner counts, so we try to support each other,” she said. “Being a part of something like that, I think it’s viable for everyone, not just restaurants.”

“It’s a small neighborhood,” she said of downtown La Grange, “but we do have a nice selection (of restaurants).”

A bonus this year is that Cold Stone Creamery, Wheely’s Coffee + Protein Lounge and Wonderful Matcha are offering discounts if you present a receipt from a participating restaurant during the 10-day promotion.

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