Culinaria, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting San Antonio as a culinary destination, kicked off its biannual Restaurant Weeks on Saturday, January 15, amid the ongoing spike in COVID cases across the city. A portion of the proceeds from the promotion benefits Culinaria’s charitable efforts, including relief for workers who’ve been furloughed or unemployed as a result of the pandemic.
The two-week dining event invites local restaurants and chains, including Rebelle, Boiler House, and Cicis Pizza, to create limited special menus to maintain customer relations and generate business during January and August — traditionally slower months for restaurants.
When the pandemic first hit in 2020, Culinaria was forced to make adjustments to Restaurant Weeks, but rather than cancel the event entirely, it switched exclusively to curbside and delivery options for those editions. As COVID restrictions have become more lenient in Texas, Restaurant Weeks has reinstated dine-in options while encouraging its participants to keep COVID safety protocols in place.
“It’s ultimately our goal and the restaurants’ goal to make sure that everyone is safe,” Culinaria vice president Ginger Robinson tells Eater. “Our thing is ultimately to always follow any mandates and guidelines; that’s first and foremost our priority.”
Gov. Greg Abbott ended mask mandates in March 2021, and he has remained staunchly opposed to any sort of federal or citywide mandates concerning COVID restrictions.
In light of the recent uptick in coronavirus cases, several participating businesses are providing to-go options for this round of Restaurant Weeks, while others, like Burgerteca, Supper, and Maverick Texas Brasserie, are only offering their Restaurant Weeks menus for dine-in services.
As of now, there are over 70 restaurants participating in the event, which runs through January 29. Three-course lunch menus range from $20 to $30, and three-course dinner menus are available for $35, $45, or $55 depending on the location.
In a disclaimer posted to the organization’s website, Culinaria implores customers to be patient with restaurants during this time, noting that closures and worker shortages may affect service.
“There’s a new challenge every day, in our current time, so the restaurants are adapting, and the consumers are respecting that,” Robinson says
San Antonio is still dealing with the fallout from the omicron-fueled COVID surge, with an estimated 42,038 active COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday, January 18, according to surveillance data gathered by Bexar County.