This week is Urbana Restaurant Week (Monday, March 2nd through Sunday, March 8th). This is the third time Urbana Business Association is hosting Restaurant Week, and it’s clear that both UBA and participating restaurants have found a system that works. Some of the success lies within the way it’s framed, as “a 7-day celebration of what this town’s fantastic food scene has to offer.” That is to say, the participating restaurants aren’t offering special menus or new or exclusive food items, but are instead taking their regular menu items and offering the diner an opportunity to potentially save a few dollars. And UBA and the participating restaurants seemed to have made note of the successful and unsuccessful things in the past, and adjusted accordingly.
There are slightly fewer participants this year (only eleven to last year’s thirteen), but there seem to be a few more vegetarian options. One noticeable newcomer is Dancing Dog; as the only vegan restaurant on the roster, it’s a welcome addition to this year’s list. Black Dog, Crane Alley, Masjita Grill, and Pizza M are not participating, which is a bummer. Creativity doesn’t exactly reign supreme on the menus, as most places are offering the same menu(s) as last year. While I understand the reasoning for this, I do still think that it would be interesting and exciting to see what these kitchens could concoct, if given an opportunity to really show off.
As there were the past two years, there are three price points ($10, $20, or $30) and a variety of meal options (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks). You’re not really going to save much money on anything at the $10 level — in fact, you could even be paying just a little bit more than usual. If anything, the $10 level is a way to remind yourself that you have several lunch options available to you for about $10, and maybe you’ll be motivated to visit a place you haven’t been in a while. The $20 level offers a bit more in the way of savings. At the $30 level you’ll find fewer options, but several dinner for two situations. Milo’s and Silvercreek lead the pack in offering some real savings on the price. Dancing Dog and Milo’s both include wine or beer as options on their menus, which I think is awesome.
I’ve divided up the participating restaurants by price point; keep in mind that most breakfast and lunch offerings are at the $10 level, and dinner at the $20 and $30 levels. For more information, visit the Urbana Business Association’s webpage, or contact restaurants directly. All Restaurant Week deals are dine-in only. To share your photos and RW experiences, tag your social media posts with #eaturbana.
Attie’s Bar + Grill: signature steakhouse burger and fries, plus choice of soup or salad.
This combination will normally cost you $10 ($6.99 burger with a side, plus $2.99 for soup or side salad), so what’s the point?
Café Zojo: breakfast/sandwich lunch/soup lunch/two coffees and two desserts.
Café Zojo is not messing around. With four different $10 options, you can probably find something you’ll like. I’d opt for coffee/tea and dessert, since you’ll get two of each item. That way you can share dessert without having to actually share dessert.
Courier Café: breakfast for one with choice of entrée, side, and beverage.
I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to have breakfast at the Courier. It’s all about the cake and egger. Note: Breakfast is only available 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Dancing Dog: choice of one of seven sandwiches and glass of wine, beer, or soda.
This might be the best deal on the $10 list, if you can handle eating vegan for one meal. (It’s good, I promise.)
Piato Café: pulled pork sandwich or Hawaiian nachos with side, drink, and choice of dessert.
The most bang for your buck is going to come with ordering the nachos: you’ll basically get a free dessert.
Po’ Boys: 8 inch pizza with up to three toppings and soda; pork, beef, or Polish sandwich with one side and a drink.
Siam Terrace: small starter and entrée.
Options are limited to chicken or tofu Thai Fried Rice or Pad Thai, Beef Noodles Soup, or two small sushi rolls.
Silvercreek: salad or cup of soup and choice of sandwich.
You’ll save a few dollars. Note: Lunch is only available 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
Sitara: 4 pieces of mixed veggie pokoras and one entrée.
Entrées are limited, but there are vegetarian and meat options.
Courier Café: lunch for two; two appetizers (soup or salad bar), two sides, two entrées.
Depending on what you select, it’s not a deal at all, but if you’re already having lunch there with someone else, why not? Note: Lunch is only offered 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Milo’s: choice of starter, entrée, and dessert or glass of wine.
This was the same as last year’s $20 option. You’ll save about $5—props to Milo’s for actually making it a deal.
Siam Terrace: one starter, two entrées, or two entrées and one dessert.
The entrée options are the same as the $10 menu; assuming that the portion sizes aren’t manipulated, this is a pretty good deal.
Silvercreek: soup or salad and choice of entrée.
This is a really good deal, especially because most of the entrée selections are already over $15 each. Order the salmon for the best deal! Note: Dinner is only available 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sitara: 6 pieces of mixed veggie pokoras and two entrées.
This is a good option for date night.
The Bread Company on Goodwin: two starters, choice of raclette or fondue, and two desserts.
This is the same as last year, and just as I did last year, I will reiterate this point: this is not for the lactose intolerant. However, there are other delicious items on the menu, and Bread Company has been making some updates, so this might be a nice opportunity to check it out if you haven’t been in some time.
Courier Café: dinner for two; two appetizers (soup or salad bar), two sides, two drinks, two entrées, two desserts.
This isn’t much of a deal, especially because most of the entrée options already come with a side. Note: Dinner is only available after 5 p.m.
Dancing Dog: choice of two entrées, two glasses of wine, beer, or soda, and one dessert.
I have to point out the brilliance of offering a glass of wine as part of the prix fixe menu (Milo’s started this last year). Order the entrées and the wine, and you’re saving a few dollars.
Silvercreek: choice of salad, fried calamari, or sausage and pear tart, entrée, and dessert.
As with the $20 two-course dinner option, this is a pretty good deal if you order the most expensive things (the fish). Note: Dinner is only available from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Sitara: 8 pieces mixed veggie pokoras and three entrées.
Order this option even if you’re not that hungry, and then you can take home the leftovers.
All photos by Jessica Hammie, except Urbana Restaurant Week banner.