Julian among local spots putting on their own unofficial ‘Restaurant Week’

Today marks the start of the official Restaurant Week, featuring 185 dining venues in the metro offering special lunch and dinner menus for 10 days, with a portion of sales donated to local charities (including the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired and Cultivate Kansas City).

But at least three restaurants — Jasper’s, Julian, and Marina Grog & Galley at Lake Lotawana — are instead doing their own thing.

Jasper Mirabile Jr., co-owner of Jasper’s Restaurant at 1201 West 103rd Street, says he applauds the mission of Restaurant Week, but his family has for the past 45 years reserved this month for a different cause.

“January has always been our anniversary month, ever since my late father wanted to show our appreciation to our loyal customers for their support,” Mirabile says. “Dad knew that January was a financially difficult month for a lot of people with credit card bills showing up with all those holiday purchases on them. So as a way of giving back to the patrons who have given so much to us, we’ve always celebrated our anniversary by offering a prix-fixe dinner through the month.”

Until Saturday, January 30, Jasper’s is offering a three-course dinner for $29.95, featuring an appetizer, a salad and one of three entrees (rigatoni with Tuscan park ragu, chicken Siena, or pesce Saltimbocca). For dessert: tartufo. Reservations are recommended.

“We participate in six major fundraising events during the year,” Mirabile says. “But January is reserved for our loyal customers.”

Celina Tio, the chef-owner of the intimate Julian Restaurant at 6227 Brookside Plaza, has her own reason for not participating in Restaurant Week: “It’s a big event that just bombards small restaurants like ours,” she says. “I can’t hire extra people just to work for 10 days.”

She adds: “Don’t get me wrong — I think Restaurant Week is a great concept. We wanted to do something more personal, something that reflects the passions of our team.”

Instead of a week, Julian is offering a $35 three-course dinner until January 31. The meal — a starter, an entree and dessert — will change weekly, and Tio will update the Julian Facebook page to reflect each menu change. Tio will donate $3 from each meal sold, with the proceeds divided among six local charities chosen by her staff members: Great Plains SPCA, Head for the Cure, Harvester’s BackSnack Program, the American Diabetes Association, Paws 4 Autism, and Spay and Neuter Kansas City.

“I wanted my staff to have their own say in the charities that we financially support,” Tio says. “And we strongly suggest reservations, particularly for any party of four people or more.”

Tio will continue to offer half-price bottles of wine on Monday and Tuesday nights and beer specials on Wednesday nights.

The Marina Grog & Galley Restaurant, at 22 A Street in Lake Lotawana, is offering a $33 four-course meal through January 31. The dinner includes a starter, salad or soup, entree and a dessert. Call 816-578-5511 for details.

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink