Just steps from the dining hall: Restaurant Week (Demo)

“There’s nothing to do in Raleigh.”
I’m always shocked at how often I hear people utter this phrase, but it packs a little bit more of a punch when I hear it spoken on campus.
Here at Peace we’re in a prime location to experience all that downtown Raleigh has to offer, and to me, that’s a lot. It seems that there’s always a new traveling exhibit at the Museum of Natural Sciences, a new jewelry-making class at Ornamentea, a new beer on tap at Busy Bee Café, a new gallery opening in Moore Square, a new vendor at RebusWorks’ Saturday Market, a new band playing at The Pour House, another festival on Fayetteville Street…that’s only a small sample of what downtown Raleigh has to offer.
This week boasts a treat for foodies: a number of restaurants in the downtown area are participating in the Downtown Restaurant Week, a localized version of the ever-popular Triangle Restaurant Week in which select restaurants offer specialized three-course dinners for a set (and affordable!) price.
The event, which began on Monday, August 20th  and runs through Sunday, August 26th, features 31 restaurants scattered around the downtown area.
Menus are split into three packages: a $30 dinner package, a $20 dinner package, and a $15 “sampler” package consisting of a collection of assorted appetizers. While each restaurant does not offer each package, all restaurants offer at least one dinner package.  Additionally, last year’s $10 beer and wine package continues on into this year, in which patrons receive a different specialized wine or beer with each of their three courses.
If last year’s Downtown Restaurant Week is any indication of this year’s, you’ll want to score a table in advance. “Although you don’t need tickets, reservations are strongly recommended,” advises Odile Fredericks, journalist for the magazine Carolina Parent.
To aid in the decision-making process, all restaurants have made their three-course menus available on Go Downtown Raleigh’s website at http://www.godowntownraleigh.com/restaurantweek/index.html.
Standout choices include Caffe Luna’s second-course Ravioli di Zucca alla Panna (a phenomenal seasonal pumpkin cream ravioli that’s part of their $20 dinner package), Busy Bee’s first-course salad whose peach-vanilla vinaigrette is a mere sample of their creative vinaigrette repertoire, and the entire $30 three-course menu of Second Empire, whose food on a normal night will run you $30 per course.
The website also provides links to each restaurant’s individual web pages where one can peruse further food selection, look up hours, and make reservations. If you have the opportunity, go to one restaurant per night, precede each with a different floor of one of the museums surrounding the Capitol, follow each meal up with a trip to a different gallery, and then try and tell me there’s nothing to do in Raleigh.

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