Photo by Rob Bartlett
Maxine's on Shine, in a less socially distanced past
the city-wide promotion featuring 30-plus local restaurants serving $30 prix fixe three-course menus for 30 days, has been rescheduled for July 15-Aug. 16, 2020.
The promotion, which usually runs the entire month of June, was canceled due to coronavirus health concerns and the uncertainty of restaurants’ ability to service dine-in customers. As restaurants reopen, many are asking about Bite30, which drives customers into their establishments; however, lack of resources, lost sponsorships and scheduling conflicts, also caused by the outbreak, were making rescheduling unlikely. As of this week, Tito’s Handmade Vodka,
a longtime sponsor of the promotion, has confirmed their support, and ABC Fine Wine and Spirits,
a Florida-based, family-owned business, has signed on as a brand-new presenting sponsor to support local restaurants, the local economy and local consumers itching to get back into the swing of everyday life in Central Florida.
food blogger Lisa Wilk, a wine educator and the founder of Orlando Uncorked, understands the value of the event, both as a consumer and as a part of the community that needs to support local restaurants, especially now. “Year after year, Bite30 is a delicious way for Orlandoans to experience local restaurants and discover hidden gems. The restaurant community needs us now more than ever, and I cannot wait to peruse the menus to figure out which restaurants are on my list!”
Restaurants’ three-course menus are featured on Bite30.com
, while Orlando Weekly launches an extensive marketing campaign driving consumers to the site. While there they can browse and compare menus, which drive their dining decisions. Restaurants with the most choices and value in their three-course prix fixe (always discounted at $30) and those who change their menu year over year attract the most participants. The goal is to give diners more than just a taste, but rather a full-spectrum three-course experience, from appetizer to dessert, that will have them coming back year ’round.
Kirt Earnhart, owner of Maxine’s on Shine, the popular restaurant nestled into the beautiful downtown residential neighborhood of Colonialtown South, appreciates the promotion for helping diners discover new places as well as giving them reasons to support their tried and true favorites. Traditionally happening at a slow time of year, he understands it’s an opportunity for restaurants and considers participating in Bite30 a “no-brainer.”
“Orlando Weekly does a really good job getting the word out to a lot of people. It's a real chance for us to showcase what we do… (which is like) coming into the parlour of a friend’s home … to take on the full range of epicurean passions of life!” says Earnhart. In 2019, Maxine’s offered a menu featuring six entrees to choose from. This diversity in menu choices made Maxine’s and others restaurants with similar options favorites among the many foodies who like to “Bite30” in groups.
In 2019, the event website attracted 175,000 unique visitors, which gives an indication of how many diners participate in the promotion. The economic boost to local restaurants is in the millions of dollars during what is normally one of, possibly the, worst months of the year. Graham Jarrett, founder of Bite30 and publisher of Orlando Weekl
y, who produces the event, reminisces, “The promotion began more than a decade ago as Orlando Restaurant Week. We launched during the Great Recession, specifically to drive traffic back into struggling restaurants. As we scramble to pull off Bite30 in just a few weeks following COVID-19, the similarities to that time are not lost on us. Orlando Weekly has always shared a special relationship with the restaurant community. As we regroup after this disruption, it is fitting that our first promotion and event drives support of local restaurants.”
Last year’s event featured well over the “30” restaurants referenced in “Bite30,” stretching from Mount Dora and Sanford to Winter Park through downtown and out to I-Drive and Lake Nona, spreading the economic impact throughout Central Florida and making it convenient for residents to participate, no matter where they reside.
“Honestly, I was doubtful we were going to make it happen this year. I’m so thankful to Tito’s and ABC and for the many restaurants that serve our community, and I am excited we get to make this happen for the city after so many tough months. Bite30 is about more than great food – it’s about the city coming together, and friends coming together again. And there’s just no better way to do that than around the table,” said Jarrett.
For more information on Bite30 or to apply to be a participating restaurant or sponsor, go to Bite30.com.