Houston, TX

Houston Restaurant Weeks 2021: Bigger and Better Than Ever

Rick Martinez

Known as The Bayou City's favorite charity dining event, Houston Restaurant Weeks 2021 is back and better than ever.

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The 18th annual Houston Restaurant Week begins on August 1 and will run through the week of September 3. This year, there will be many new features that make it easier for diners to explore the participating restaurants in Houston, with great deals on great meals while benefiting the Houston Food Bank. 

Founded by local media personality Cleverley Stone, Houston Restaurant Weeks offers diners two- and three-course prix fixe menus at set prices for brunch, lunch, and dinner. 

Almost 300 of the city's restaurants participate in the event, which raises money for the Houston Food Bank. We're looking forward to a robust turnout in 2021.

Since its founding back in 2003, the late-summer weeks of wining and dining for a cause has raised $16.6 million, providing close to 50 million meals for those who are food insecure in the process.

But let's talk about what makes its year a little different and better.

We can sum it up with one word. Technology. With a new online system for 2021, selecting which restaurants to visit during the monthling (plus) days of affordable eating is a dream come true for Houston diners. The new and improved Houston Restaurant Weeks (HRW) website allows participating restaurants to input and update menus and create downloadable menu templates for diners. In addition to listing all participating restaurants, the site categorizes those offering takeout and those with patios.

An important factor considering the pandemic and recent events.

HRW has been packing H-Town restaurants during one of the more traditional "slow" or sleepiest times of the year. They do this for the restaurants and participants by offering specially-priced multi-course prix fixe menus including brunch, lunch, and dinner, available for dine-in and often takeout. For brunch and lunch, restaurants will offer either two or three courses and three or four courses for dinner.

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Dinners will be priced at $49 (up from $45 last year) and $39 this year, while brunch and lunch prix fixe menus are set at $20.

Houston Restaurant Weeks organizers want you to know that for every $49 dinner purchased, five dollars goes to the food bank, which can then provide 15 meals to people in need of food; $ 3 from every $39 dinner will allow the food bank to provide nine meals. Purchasing a $20 meal offers $1, which equates to three meals for the hungry. 

But this year, organizers decided to allow restaurants to keep more revenue as they recover from the lingering economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to the pandemic and all that 2020 brought, last summer's participating restaurant tally was at 170, down from the 250 in 2019. Anticipation for 2021 is that the number will again grow with participating restaurants in Houston and across the region in an effort to truly bring the Houston food scene back with a roar. 

On July 15, diners can start checking out this summer's possibilities while keeping in mind that restaurants can be added to the website all the way up to and including August 1.

HRW is keeping the participating restaurants under wraps until the July release date, as the roster is growing nearly every day. But a minor spoiler alert, Berg Hospitality's (Ben Berg) and Brennans' Alex Brennan-Martin have already pledged their support to the 2021 festivities. This means you can count not only on Brennan's to be offering special deals but also members of Berg's group of restaurants, which includes The Annie Café & Bar and B&B Butchers & Restaurant.

In keeping with Cleverley Stone's final wish before dying of cancer in 2020, the program will continue for the foreseeable future in her name. Her daughter, Katie Stone, stepped into her mother's shoes and has committed to keeping her mom's dream alive.

"Last year's HRW proved to be crucial for what was perhaps the most difficult time that restaurants and the food bank have ever faced," Katie Stone said in a statement. "This year, I am so excited to be able to do exactly what my mother would be doing, which is everything she could for her beloved restaurant industry and the Houston Food Bank. This year's HRW is going to be amazing!"

Stone passed away in 2020 after a lengthy battle with cancer, and her daughter Katie established the Cleverley Stone Foundation to continue HRW in her mother's memory. 

Diners who want a bit of a sneak peek or preview as to what's in store can check out the 2020 list

Historically, restaurants that participate tend to do so year after year, so this list may be a good outline, and with Houstonians chomping at the bit to go out again, it's very likely the 2021 list will be the biggest one ever.

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I'm a freelance writer and a nurse, exploring the world one beer, donut, and experience at a time. Writing about the travel nurse industry and healthcare, with the occasional emphasis on donuts. #NomNom

San Antonio, TX
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