You’ve Still Got Time to Catch Restaurant Week

By Eva Moore
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Cellar on Greene’s Restaurant Week menu features several fish dishes. File photo

South Carolina Restaurant Week runs through Sunday, Jan. 19. And if you’ve been staying away from Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s Restaurant Week deal because we wrote last week that it doesn’t include steak — well, oops: For $35, Ruth’s Chris is offering a three-course meal, and one of the entrée options is the filet and shrimp combo. That’s a 6-ounce filet mignon. A steak, in other words. And shrimp. Free Times deeply regrets the error (and urges you to try the bread pudding with whiskey sauce). 

Now in its sixth year, Restaurant Week was created to promote local restaurants in South Carolina, bringing in customers during the typically slow post-holiday season and lowering the bar to entry for people who might not often eat out at higher-end restaurants. Customers can browse menus online, and most of the menu deals are fixed-price, with several options.

Need further reasons to check out Restaurant Week? Well, you’ve probably already helped pay for it. This year, the City of Columbia’s citizen Hospitality Tax Committee gave $20,000 to the Greater Columbia Restaurant Association for Restaurant Week, as it has for the past several years. Bars and restaurants collect hospitality taxes, a 2 percent tax on prepared food and beverages, which the city then doles out in an effort to increase hospitality industry business — and Restaurant Week certainly fits right in that wheelhouse.

It’s working, too: Kristian Niemi, who owns the already-busy Rosso Trattoria Italia in Forest Acres, says Restaurant Week is a boon, bringing in more business. About 70 percent of people dining at Rosso during the promotion have opted for the Restaurant Week menu, Niemi says. That’s a three-course dinner for $29, with choices ranging from duck confit carbonara to crispy fried artichokes to a baked lasagna.

Not all the participating restaurants are of the fine-dining variety: Lizard’s Thicket is offering a $7.49 meat-and-three deal, and desserts are $0.99 during the promotion. Sweet, A Cupcake Company is running a buy-three-cupcakes-get-one-free deal. Liberty Tap Room and sister restaurant Liberty on the Lake have rolled out multi-course menus for under $20. And KiKi’s Chicken and Waffles has put together a $25 soul food meal.

Visit to search by region, city or cuisine.

The Future Is Now

A South Carolina-based company debuted a new technology at a recent industry event: a 3D food printer that makes intricate, sculptural desserts.

The Huffington Post explains how it works: “A rolling pin-like mechanism first spreads a fine, even layer of powder on the printing surface. An inkjet print head then sprays a narrow stream of water, drawing on the layer of sugar in whatever pattern the owner has pre-programmed. When the water hits the powder, it recrystallizes, so that whatever the water touches hardens.” That process is repeated layer by layer.

The ChefJet printer builds desserts at a rate of one vertical inch per hour, so it’s not exactly a Star Trek-style replicator. It’ll cost $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the model

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