CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If you've resolved to cut back on eating out in the New Year as a way to save, I found a good reason to splurge and it won't cost you too much. Dine Out Charlotte is a program that just kicked off in the Charlotte area. It was co-created by Jeff Ahmadi. "Owning a business is hard, but owning an independent restaurant is harder. With Dine Out Charlotte we want to show restaurants the local economy can support them and get the word out," Ahmadi told me.
Chef Gene Briggs is executive chef at Blue in uptown. "It really showcases the people that are in this town that been in this town and have worked to make it what it is culinary wise," Briggs told me as he sautéed the ingredients for a butternut squash stuffing.
Dine Out Charlotte is much like Queen's Feast. For ten days, diners can get a three course meal at participating restaurants for two different price points. Some restaurants will charge $22.00 for a three course meal, others will charge $32.00, depending on the restaurant's price point.
But here's what makes this concept so unique. For every meal served two dollars will go directly to Second Harvest Food Bank. By their own estimates, Second Harvest can prepare and serve four meals for kids, cost- one dollar. So for each person who dines out at a participating restaurant, they can enjoy a meal knowing 8 kids will be fed by Second Harvests many kids programs. "So if you can imagine you're having a meal and that dollar is buying four meals, so you're buying eight meals while you're having yours," explain Ahmadi. Pointing out this is a win-win for everyone.
Dine Out already has 24 restaurants on board to participate. IT will run April 12 through the 21, 2013. They expect to have as many as 50 by the time the event kicks off. Chefs are asked to create menus that use local ingredients and celebrate spring.