Nineteen restaurants. Twenty-three different menus, ranging in price from $20 to $40. One passport, and a month to fill it.
Comox Valley Economic Development and Tourism has partnered with restaurants throughout the Comox Valley for the seventh annual Dine Around Comox Valley, running from Feb. 18 to March 13.
The campaign was the brainchild of a couple of local restaurants looking to stir up business in the traditionally slow post-holiday winter weeks.
“The Blackfin and other Comox Valley restaurants approached Comox Valley Economic Development seven years ago on creating a Dine Around event, as a way to support the awareness of the culinary product in the region, and to help drive increased economic activity in the restaurants during this slower period in the year,” said Barbara Hansen, general manager of the Blackfin Pub, and a Dine Around steering committee member.
Hansen said the campaign has had a lasting effect, and has served its purpose well.
“When Dine Around is on, we see a lot of new faces coming into the Blackfin Pub,” she said. “It brings a great vibe into the restaurant, and gets people talking about their food and dining experience. It’s been incredibly successful for us, and we’ve heard the same feedback from other restaurants that participate. Our businesses have seen year over year increases, despite the challenge of increasing food costs.”
There are two new restaurants this year, as Fluid and Billy D’s have added to the $30 menu selections.
Other restaurants involved for 2016 are Manvirro’s Indian Grill, Spice Hut and The Griffin Pub, all with $20 menu options.
Other $30 menu options are available from Atlas Cafe, Avenue Bistro, Bisque Restaurant, Blackfin Pub, Tita’s Mexican Restaurant, Martine’s Bistro, The Prime Chophouse, Toscano’s Trattoria, The White Whale, Union Street Grill and Red 21 Gaming Tap & Grill.
Prime, Toscano’s and Bisque also have options in the $40 menu category, along with Timber Room Bar & Grill at Crown Isle, The Breakwater Restaurant at Kingfisher Spa, and Locals Restaurant.
All menu options are for three-course meals. Taxes and tips are not included in the price.
There are numerous choices for every budget and palate, and make sure to pick up a passport on your first night out. Dine at a minimum of four of the participating restaurants, get your passport stamped at each visit, and submit the passport for a chance to win the grand prize of ‘dinner out for a year.’
“We have also added a number of culinary events this year,” said Lara Greasley, CVEDS manager of marketing and communications. “For an example, there is a Dine Around Mystery Mix, which is a mystery tour; you have three-course meals, but at three different restaurants. You don’t know where you are going.
“We also have the Brews Cruise, which takes you behind the scenes of one of our local breweries, and a ‘Wine Time’ version of the same thing, but you are going to the wineries.”
The Tap Takeover on Feb. 18 is a ‘kick-off’ event at the White Whale, featuring 13 beers on tap.
Go to bit.ly/1o40llf for a complete list of all the individual culinary events associated with Dine Around.
Another addition this year is the Sip Around Downtown feature - drink specials every Friday and Saturday afternoon, 4-6 p.m., at participating locations (see website at bit.ly/1PG8hk6 for complete list).
Dine Around is all about "feasting in February," and the participating businesses are making it easier (and more fun) than ever before to cure the winter blahs with a night out.