imageIf you’re the lone person who hasn’t been plugged in to social media lately, we’re in the middle of Triangle Restaurant Week, now through January 31.

It’s more than likely a few local chefs are saying “thanks” that the ice and snow hit the East Coast last week and that we’re experiencing 60-degree highs now. Instead of hibernating and eating whatever was left after burning through the good stuff in the first 48 hours of cabin fever1 we can safely seek out their creative $25 or $30 prix-fixe 3-course dinners.

The week-long festival of fabulous food started in 2008. Damon Butler, who had quit his day job to pursue life on his own as entrepreneur, launched Triangle Restaurant Week as a way to showcase his firm, Triangle Blvd, and its webTV platform.

“Online video had just taken off and we were looking for a way via digital media — web and social media — to highlight local businesses and bring the area together,” Butler said. “Food is something that brings everyone together!”

That first year he convinced 26 Raleigh restaurants to join the fun, which doubled to 52 in 2008 and is up to 95 this year, with locations in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Chapel Hill, Morrisville, Pittsboro and Clayton.

After nine years Butler is still sold on the idea. “I think it’s important as a community event. Too often we’re stuck in our familiar neighborhoods and this gives us an excuse to experience what the greater area has to offer.”

“It’s also the perfect opportunity for chefs to take some chances with a few items that aren’t traditionally found on their menu,” he said.

Gauging from all the gushing on Twitter, those chances are paying off. And not just with dinner; diners are raving about the $15 lunches as well.

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The website is searchable by location, price, type (from American to Mediterranean to Sushi and everything in between) and lunch options, and its video wall showcases talent on both sides of the camera.

The initial success of Triangle Restaurant Week was enough to propel Triangle Blvd into the award-winning creative agency it is today. Butler described his firm’s services as “solutions that are highly effective, engaging and entertaining. Our talented group of forward-thinking artisans and multidisciplinary team produces consistent brand experiences across multiple platforms.”

Butler’s last words of advice for first-timers, besides taking a chance on somewhere new? “Get reservations! Some of the restaurants fill up fast!”

  1. Unless you’re one of the lucky few within walking distance of The Morning Times or Joule, two places that deliver the goods more often in inclement weather than the USPS
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