Restaurant Week 2021 begins today, and with 27 restaurants participating (including a food truck and a caterer), there are so many delicious foods awaiting you. There are lunch, dinner, and a breakfast specials in addition to a variety of sizes in carryout meals (single entrée, meal for two, or family sized).
Visit Champaign County's Restaurant Week 2021 runs for nine days, starting January 29th through February 6th. This year's Restaurant Week event is a takeout version. The menus are out, and I am excited.
These participating restaurants have planned and prepared for Restaurant Week, but we should remember to have patience with the restaurants (and tip generously). Many of us will be picking up our meals at the same busy meal times, so we might prepare ourselves that there could be a wait. Whenever I see a long line for pickup, I try to remind myself two things. First, that I've clearly chosen wisely as many others appreciate the food here, too, and secondly, I should be happy that my community is showing up to support our C-U restaurants.
There are lots of awesome options for Restaurant Week, and I've curated a list of suggestions to help guide you as you plan out your meals for next week.
A Taste of Both Worlds' Stuffed Chicken Wing Meal, $9
If there's wings on the menu, I'm in. This is a Cambodian dish from the newest BFH restaurant, and it features wings stuffed with ground chicken, lemongrass, and bean thread noodles plus a side of steamed rice. I love the idea of this. I can't remember the last time I had lemongrass, but I'm getting hungry to eat it next week from A Taste of Both Worlds.
El Patio's Pollo en Papa, $29.99
This dish is described by El Patio as: "Bed of fries topped with grilled chicken and cheese sauce." Okay, what? This is everything. Bed of fries? Yum. Topped with grilled chicken? Great. And cheese sauce? Hell yes. It says that it feeds four, but I bet it could feed two if you really wanted to go nuts.
Farren's Monday Special: The Maui Ow-ee Burger, $14
Everyone loves the burgers at Farren's, and every day of Restaurant Week 2021, Farren's will be serving up a different burger on special, each served with fresh fried potato chips. The Monday special Maui Ow-ee sounds great: a half pound beef patty topped with ghost pepper cheese, a grilled pineapple slice, and habanero aioli. If you like spicy, this burger will bring the heat in both the cheese and aioli.
Kohinoor's Chicken Tikka Masala Meal, $19
Chicken tikka masala, tender chicken roasted with a creamy tomato sauce, is one of several RW options from Kohinoor. This meal comes with a choice of rice or naan plus a samosa appetizer, a mango shake, and a green salad. An app, an entrée, a salad, naan bread, and a freaking shake? That's quite a lot for only $19, so if you're looking to stretch your dollars, this is your best bet.
Neil St. Blues' Turkey Leg, $12
I am so excited about this turkey leg. I love how primal I feel eating such a huge hunk of meat, and turkey legs are so rare to see on a menu. Neil St. Blues will be serving smoked Cajun-brined turkey legs for $12 while supplies last. The legs are two pounds each and will be available a la carte, but you can also order a turkey leg with a side for $16 or with two sides for $20. Pro tip: the fries from Neil St. Blues are bomb and do well on takeout.
Siam Terrace's Meal for Two, $30
You could choose the one-person meal for $15, but you won't be getting the dessert. I suggest the meal for two just for the dessert addition. The special RW dessert is molten chocolate cake. Come on. Siam Terrace is on my list because gooey, melty chocolate cake is something I cannot — and will not — pass up. The meal for two comes with a choice of one appetizer and two dishes (choice of chicken or tofu) in addition to the cake. I'd pick pot stickers for my app with chicken pad Thai plus one of the other yummy options (Thai fried rice, panang curry, terriyaki chicken rice bowl, cashew stir fry, or mussamun curry).
Stango's Lunch and Dinner, $21.99
Stango was a must for Restaurant Week 2020, and it is again this year. It's a build-your-own meal with your choice of appetizer, a choice of entrée, and a choice of two sides — and all meals come with beignets. All the items on Stango's RW 2021 menu sound great, but I'm eyeing the appetizer of plantains and the entrée of gizdodo (peppered gizzards and plantains) plus dessert beignets, of course.
The Stuft Bird's fried corn, $3.35
Okay, I've had a lot of fried foods, but never have I ever had fried corn. The Stuft Bird's RW 2021 menu includes this new item: Grandma Alma's fried corn. There's no further details, so I don't know what to expect, but I know The Stuft Bird makes good stuff, so whatever it is, it'll be tasty.
Still hungry for more? You can read through all of the participating restaurants' Restaurant Week menus right here.