In some good food news, Visit Champaign County is moving forward with Restaurant Week 2021. The weeklong event will take place January 29th through February 6th. Instead of indoor dining with a focus on three-course meals, takeout will be the feature.

Restaurants interested in participating can contact Terri Reifsteck. The VCC Restaurant Week website will be updated with participating restaurants as they become available. The full press release is below.

Visit Champaign County’s Champaign County Area Restaurant Week Focuses on Takeout

Champaign, IL – The annual Champaign County Area Restaurant Week, presented by Visit Champaign County, will return for its fifth year in 2021 with numerous changes in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an effort to support local restaurants, while also celebrating our award-winning culinary scene, Visit Champaign County will host a “Takeout Edition” from January 29–February 6, 2021.

The event, which began in 2016 with 17 restaurants, encourages residents and visitors to discover new restaurants, flavors, and dishes during this nine-day celebration. Over the course of four years, the event saw significant growth, with 32 restaurants participating in 2020 and thousands of patrons taking advantage of special menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

“We identified success in the past when we saw our restaurants overflowing with diners, and reservations booked up for the week. This year will look significantly different,” states Terri Reifsteck, Vice President of Marketing & Community Engagement from Visit Champaign County. “Recognizing the challenges in the hospitality industry from COVID-19, and ensuring guidelines established by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, we will be highlighting specials for takeout and delivery at our local restaurants to keep both our hospitality workers and our residents safe.”

In addition to the shift to a takeout, the 2021 Champaign County Area Restaurant Week | Takeout Edition will restructure the offers available. “A takeout experience is different than dining at the restaurant, so we are moving away from the 3-course, prix-fixe menus that have been a staple in our promotion. Instead, we want to ensure simplicity for both our restaurants, and our guests with menus that offer specials on solo meals, meals for two, and family packs,” explains Reifsteck.

Visit Champaign County hopes that the changes to the 2021 event will provide a much-needed boost to our local restaurants during the winter months. The results of a fall resident readiness survey with the Champaign Center Partnership garnered over 800 responses, showing that 73% of residents are moderately or very uncomfortable eating at a restaurant indoors. In conjunction with the rising cases in Region 6, Visit Champaign County felt it critical to provide support to restaurants in a way that addressed the concerns of residents, while also not overwhelming the limited indoor dining available.

“To further help our restaurants, we will be waiving our nominal participation fees for anyone that wants to participate,” says Reifsteck. “We’ll continue to offer a comprehensive marketing and outreach plan to engage our community in the event.”

Restaurants interested in participating should contact Terri Reifsteck at terrir@visitchampaigncounty.org.

As restaurants sign up for the promotion, they will be added to the website, ccrestaurantweek.org. The special menus will be available in early January.

Top image courtesy of Visit Champaign County.