A Nao menu item for Culinaria, October 2015. Credit: Courtesy / Culinaria

Since 2010, Culinaria, a nonprofit organization committed to promoting San Antonio as a premier food and wine destination, has given locals and visitors the opportunity to sample the quality and variety of the city’s restaurants at a fixed price for the duration of one week.

But this year, Culinaria’s popular Restaurant Week, which takes place twice a year in August and January, has expanded into an “almost” two-week program. From Jan. 16-23, guests will be able to dine at more than 90 participating restaurants and taste what San Antonio’s best local chefs and restaurants have to offer.

“The biggest news for this January is that it has been one week in the past, and now we are expanding it to almost two weeks,” Culinaria Vice President Ginger Robinson told the Rivard Report Thursday. “All the restaurants and everyone involved have asked for it, so we are delivering this year, and are very excited about that.”

Like in years past, participating restaurants will offer an array of prix-fixe menus, which include a three-course lunch and/or dinner within two tiers: Tier One establishments will offer a lunch course for $15 and a dinner for $35; Tier Two establishments will offer a lunch course for $10 and a dinner for $25.

A portion of the proceeds from participating restaurants – $1 from each lunch and $2 from each dinner menu ordered – will go toward the completion of The Farm, a unique learning lab facility with a focus on “technology to table” initiatives and sustainable indoor and outdoor growing practices.

However, according to a Culinaria news release, “due to unforeseeable circumstances,” the facility, which was already under construction next to Magnolia Pancake Haus‘ main property near I-10 and Huebner Road, will “have a new location that will be announced soon.”

Robinson told the Rivard Report that Culinaria still plans to open The Farm in the spring of 2017, but at a different location. In addition to bringing awareness to the state of local food production systems, the facility is expected to become a hub of culinary education through the use of innovative and emerging technology.

“We have been re-grouping and we are moving forward with The Farm, but it just won’t be (on Huebner Road),” Robinson said. “Culinaria will be announcing the new location soon. The space that we find will be perfect for us and it will be amazing to get started with classes, teaching kids, and bringing something to San Antonio … we can’t wait to open the doors.”

Restaurant Week is bringing back many favorites, but look out for new additions to the menu.

“The Jason Dady restaurants have participated since the beginning, and a big participant has always been Bliss,” Robinson said. “Boiler House, as long as they’ve been open, they’ve participated as well.”

Boiler House diners enjoy Culinaria's Restaurant Week in 2013. Photo courtesy of Culinaria.
Boiler House diners enjoy Culinaria’s Restaurant Week in 2013. Credit: Courtesy / Culinaria

Some new restaurants include Botika at the Pearl, several restaurants in Boerne, Larder and Supper at Hotel Emma, and Jason Dady’s new tapas bar The Bin. Other new additions “are in the works,” Robinson said. For updates on the participating restaurant list leading up to the event, visit Culinaria’s website.

“Restaurant Week has definitely grown,” Robinson said. “Before we only did it in August. This is the third year we’ve added January, so restaurants can participate during both months – and most of them do.”

January is a slower time for the restaurant industry and not everyone is ready to go out and try new restaurants, she added, especially after the holidays. But Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity for guests to get excited about discovering new places and trying more winter-focused menus if they attended programming in August, Robinson said.

The Confit Chicken Banh Mi Slider at Grayze on Grayson during Restaurant Week. Photo by Lea Thompson.
The Confit Chicken Banh Mi Slider at Grayze during Restaurant Week in January 2016. Credit: Lea Thompson / San Antonio Report

“It’s always been a tremendous success at every restaurant I’ve been at in San Antonio,” Grayze Operating Partner James Moore told the Rivard Report Friday. “It’s a great opportunity for people to check out restaurants they may not go to on a regular basis. Also, for restaurants it’s fun since you can mix up the menu a little bit.”

This is the third time Grayze has participated in Restaurant Week, Moore said. On Jan. 11 the restaurant will celebrate its one-year-anniversary.

“Our chef, Pedro Cuellar, is a tremendous talent, so I’m sure he’ll craft up something special this year,” Moore said. “I think historically, we’ve always done something a little bit more ramped up than what we normally do. It’s an opportunity for people to kind of show off their skill sets, since it draws so much attention to San Antonio.

“It’s fun for chefs to participate and not just have a discounted menu, but to do something out of the box as well,” he added. “I’m looking forward to it myself. It’s not just for participants to serve, but also to go try as well.”

Due to popular demand, reservations during Restaurant Week are encouraged. Guests can contact each establishment directly.

Rocío Guenther has called San Antonio home for more than a decade. Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, she bridges two countries, two cultures, and two languages. Rocío has demonstrated experience in...