This past Monday, Nov. 6, Cleveland Independents kicked off its 17th annual Cleveland Restaurant Week—the time when diners can enjoy special three-course, prix fixe dinners created by more than 30 locally-owned, independent restaurants.
Although the event is in full swing, diners still have a chance to try a new restaurant or sample a new dish, as Restaurant Week runs through next Saturday, Nov. 18.
This is a good time to support local eateries, says Laurie Torres, president of Cleveland Independents and owner of Mallorca Restaurant, which has been pleasing diners for more than 25 years with Spanish and Portuguese dishes crafted by its award-winning chef who caters to meat eaters, seafood lovers, vegan, and vegetarians equally.
Mallorca“Restaurant Week is done at this time of year when restaurants are typically slower the first weeks of November,” Torres says. “When the weather changes, people aren’t going out so often.”
Cleveland Restaurant Week is the largest promotion of its kind in Northeast Ohio. Cleveland Independents started the promotion 17 years ago to help support locally owned businesses. “Our role it to encourage people to eat locally,” says Torres. “It was started because people were seeing chain restaurants like Olive Garden coming in and the independent restaurant owners banded together.”
Most of the menu deals offered during Restaurant Week are $39, plus tip, for a three-course meal, says Torres, but the participating restaurants do not have to stick to that price. Check the Restaurant Week site for a full list of menus. “They’re all good deals,” she says of the menus.
At Mallorca, for example, dinner can get a salad or gazpacho as a first course; a choice of traditional or vegan paellas, chicken and shrimp in white wine sauce, pork chops, linguini with clams and mussels, or stuffed tilapia as a second course; and a choice of homemade dessert—flan or chocolate cake— for $39 plus tax and tip. Diners can add a pitcher of sangria for $29. Mallorca also offers a takeout prix fixe three-course paella dinner, for two for $59.
Additionally, Torres says Cleveland Restaurant Week is a fun time for both the diners and the chefs/owners.
“It’s an opportunity to try something you’ve always wanted to try,” she says. “For the restaurants, it’s a chance to be creative with the menu.”
And Torres stresses that it’s been a challenging year for the restaurant industry. “Food costs have tripled for us, labor costs have gone way up, and credit card companies are doubling our fees,” she says. “Restaurants have been going through a really tough time, and these local restaurants are what make Cleveland Cleveland.”