Foodies and newbies unite: It’s time for Charleston Restaurant Week—truly one of the most anticipated culinary events in town! It kicked off January 10 and goes the 20th, so we all have the opportunity to savor this town like we never have before! Participating Charleston Restaurant Week locations offer a special menu for diners: usually three courses for $20, $30 or $40, depending on the price point of the restaurant.
How to make the most of it? Fire up your smartphone, iPad, mobile apps... Get social. Here's how:
1. Head directly to the source. The Charleston Restaurant Association, creator of Restaurant Week, has a great online presence that truly allows you to connect with the Restaurant Week experience on multiple platforms. Like them on Facebook at Facebook.com/FoodFestivals (their page is updated regularly and offers special incentives all week), follow them on Instagram / Twitter @ChasRestaurants. Follow both accounts for current info, PLUS enter to win some great prizes. Make sure you tag your Instagram and Twitter photos with #CRW to be entered to win! ALSO: There's a new mobile app! Search ”Charleston Restaurant Association:” All CRA events are included on the app (the Oyster Festival, for example) and it includes bonus features, such as a parking assistant, tip calculator, photo uploader, and more!
2. Considering Restaurant Week is such a popular event, plan ahead and book your reservations early. Many restaurants offer OpenTable reservations. Simply use either the mobile app or website to select the date, time, and number in your party and they will provide available reservations. You get special perks the more frequently you use the service, so I recommend booking ALL reservations through Open Table!
3. Check-in using Foursquare or Facebook places to share where you are. Social savvy businesses have created Foursquare specials, so be sure to take a gander before you place your order.
4. Take photos and share. Upload them to Instagram, tag #CRW and be entered to win some pretty cool prizes from the CRA.
5. Share your images and thoughts on your culinary finds on Foodspotting. This app—a personal favorite of mine—allows you to connect with other foodies who love to dine. You can share what you love!
6. Make sure you check out the restaurant’s Foodspotting and Foursquare pages for user-generated tips from other visitors. You can learn a LOT about a place … and it’ll help you figure out what to order.
7. Share what you’re doing on social media … I always love hearing what my friends are up to and appreciate their feedback when they hear where I’m headed.
Did you love or hate your experience? Share your thoughts on review sites and help mold the future of your favorite spots. Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Google Places and Trip Advisor are all great options. And remember to share the good as well as the bad—too many times we see people only review a location when their experience was less than stellar.
We live in a fabulous city with delicious eats, superb cocktails and the friendliest of faces … let’s all get out and show our appreciation to the many establishments who make it all happen! Cheers!