Already a subscriber? Log in
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 52 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
“People who love to eat are always the best people,” Julia Childs, the French Chef and America’s most famous foodie, famously said. As area eateries gear up for 2022 Quad Cities Restaurant Week, March 21-27, they are counting on the region’s restaurant patrons to turn out and show their support as local restaurateurs work to recover from the lingering pandemic that is eating away at their bottom lines. COVID-19 also has impacted the annual event’s schedule. QC Restaurant Week was launched in 2013 by Visit Quad Cities to highlight local cuisine and give Quad Citians an opportunity to sample what local restaurants have to offer. In 2020, it was held at its usual time at the end of February – just before the COVID shutdown began in the Quad Cities. Later, Visit Quad Cities staged a second restaurant week in October to help restaurants promote curbside and carryout business. In 2021, Visit Quad Cities moved the event to March. Now, with COVID-19 in its second year, it’s more important than ever to shine a light on an industry that is a key ingredient in making the Quad Cities a regional destination, the region’s tourism and marketing bureau says. Dave Herrell, Visit Quad Cities president and CEO, said restaurants “are vitally important to our regional destination’s authenticity and experience. We need our local restaurants to survive and thrive, and the last two years have been extremely tough on this industry. Small businesses and restaurants are the backbone of our community and represent a significant number of hospitality jobs.” The week gives Quad Citians “a time where we can rally around them and celebrate our culinary scene in a fun and unique way,” he said. “We strongly encourage Quad Citizens to get out there and either try something new or hit up that place you haven’t experienced in a while. And when you do, let the staff know how much you appreciate them and value what they are doing.” For restaurant owners and operators, who are invited to visit qcrestaurantweek.com to join the regional promotion, it’s a chance to attract new customers and reward regulars. The campaign is free for restaurants to participate and open to both dine-in and carryout restaurants. Eateries that wish to join the event must sign up by Friday, March 11. There are no special price points or prix-fixe (fixed price) menu requirements, according to Visit Quad Cities. Heart of America Group, headquartered in Moline, has “always participated in Restaurant Week,” said Gretchen McLaughlin, who leads the hospitality company’s talent acquisition and marketing. “It is a great opportunity for our restaurants to invite first-time guests to try our features, experience our amazing venues, meet our staff, check out our menus while also offering our existing guests a reason to come back.” In addition, she said, “Quad Cities restaurant week also generates free press and multi-dimensional media coverage for our local restaurants. It is fun to see the innovative restaurant ideas and features presented during the week.” All of the Heart of America’s Quad Cities restaurants are participating, she said, including Johnny’s Steakhouse, which is offering a choice of $12 lunches, and $28 per person three-course meals. The J Bar is offering “Breakfast for Dinner” specials: Pork Belly & Donuts, Fried Chicken & Waffles, Chorizo & Egg French Fries. Featured drinks are Blood Orange Mimosa and Sweet Pickle Bloody Marys. “It is always better when you can have more restaurants included,” Ms. McLaughlin said. “It shows we all are part of the community and support the local Quad Cities convention and visitors bureau. Restaurant Week is presented at a time when people are looking for reasons to go out and try new adventures. The more restaurant features that participate, the bigger attention it will have in the area, and the more people will respond. It boosts overall excitement for people to get out and try new restaurants.” For food lovers, there’s a smorgasbord of benefits to taking part in QC Restaurant Week. They include those special prices and menus designed to tempt their taste buds, whether they dine in or carryout. Restaurant regulars also can reward the people who work at their favorite Quad Cities dining places by nominating them for the Favorite Person in the QC Restaurant Industry awards. Visit Quad Cities said the award is designed for “those in the local restaurant industry who go above and beyond to make experiences special and who bring customer-centric energy to work with them.” To nominate your favorite chefs, cooks, servers, bartenders, baristas, managers, hosts, cashiers, runners, bussers, dishwashers, and kitchen crew who make it all possible visit www.qcrestaurantweek.com. Several nominees will be recognized during the week. In addition to the Restaurant Week deals, patrons also will have a chance to win gift certificates to participating restaurants. If you purchase a meal from one of the QC Restaurant Week restaurants between March 21-27, fill out the entry form on the website with a picture of your receipt, photo of yourself at the restaurant, or posing with your carryout meal for a chance to win. Visit Quad Cities urges foodies to explore www.qcrestaurantweek.com and to keep checking back as new restaurants are being added. You also can follow Visit Quad Cities on social media for updates on QC Restaurant Week, restaurant gift card giveaways, and other happenings @QuadCities on Facebook, and @VisitQuadCities on Instagram and Twitter. Post about your QC Restaurant Week meals using #QCRestaurantWeek.