Delish: Inland Empire Restaurant Week

The two-county-wide event spotlights a range of eateries.

RESTAURANT WEEKS? They haven't been around forever. There was a day, not so long ago, when an individual or family stuck to a couple of taverns or diners in their general vicinity, only venturing out to somewhere special on a special occasion. But dining trends change, and people eating out, not just in their local area but over a wide spread, is far more common. Moreover, eat-outers are inclined toward adventure and sampling foods outside of their tried-and-beloved favorite cuisines. And so the phenomenon of Restaurant Weeks, those deal-laden week-long (or fortnight-long) runs that put the spotlight on local eateries, arose as well. But not ever city or county hosts one, so when a place starts, and starts in a major way, it is notable.

AND... the Inland Empire is doing just the big-way-starting we're talking about here. The first Inland Empire Restaurant Week is on from March 21 through 30, but it isn't dotting a single city or neighborhood, with the idea to keep things small since it is year one. Nope, it's rolling over two counties, San Bernardino and Riverside, and dozens of restaurants, from Ontario to Big Bear Lake to Claremont, have eateries on board. Eateries that will be doing the prix fixe, more-than-a-single-course deal, so you can get your fill, for a song, and try out good variety of what the place has to offer.

PARTICIPATING PLACES? Gram's Mission Bar-B-Q in Riverside, the Grand Oak Steakhouse & Bar, and Bin189 at Lake Arrowhead Resort are three of the on-boarders. What spot has been in the back of your brain for years, that you needed to try? See if they're on the list, because Restaurant Week is a fine time to dip a toe in. Or, rather, a fork.

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