Visit foodiefest.net to find out who is participating in this Jan 27 - Feb 4 "restaurant week" festival.

This week the Chamber presents two signature events, both focused on our growing local dining scene:  Bite Nite and Foodie Fest.  With over one hundred and fifty restaurants, specialty food shops, caterers and grocers in our Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park and the surrounding area, we have plenty to celebrate and much to promote.

We are delighted that almost fifty of our local restaurants are joining us for Bite Nite.  Two dozen restaurants will be offering Foodie Fest specials during the nine days that follow.

This all began four years ago as a way to promote our area restaurants on a shoe-string (read: zero) budget.  A small group of us at the Chamber came up with “Foodie Fest” to encourage people to give new places a try during an especially slow season for restaurants.  Akin to the restaurant week promotions you find in most major cities, Foodie Fest was conceived along the same parameters.  Special prix fixe menus at reduced prices for a short one- to two-week run.

This year, Foodie Fest runs from January 27 through February 4, overlapping almost exactly with Chicago Restaurant Week, organized and heavily promoted by the city’s “Choose Chicago” tourism bureau.  Locally, we have to rely on social media, a handful of flyers and word of mouth to get the word out.  Still we hope Foodie Fest will convince you to try out our local establishments, not just downtown hotspots.

It works like this:  participating restaurants will offer a three-item or three-course special priced at either $10, $20 or $30 (excluding tax, gratuity and beverage).

Foodie Fest kicks off this Friday with Bite Nite, our third annual “taste of” party at The Nineteenth Century Club.  Once again a sold-out affair, Bite Nite gives 400 diners an opportunity to sample “bites” from fifty local restaurants in a fun and festive atmosphere.

Ask about Foodie Fest when visiting the restaurants around town.  Help us spread the word about all the fabulous places to dine right here in our community.  You’ll find a complete list of area restaurants as well as Foodie Fest participants and specials on our website oprfchamber.org.  Bon Appetit!

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Cathy Yen

Cathy Yen is the Executive Director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.  She has lived in Oak Park for 21 years and done business locally, first as a retailer and then as a small business...