Local eateries offer dinners for $18.18 during Gwinnett Restaurant


Imagine an amazing meal. First, you enjoy a tasty appetizer, then stop to admire the presentation of the entree before eating every bite of it. To end the evening, you savor a decadent dessert. Now, imagine that you pay less than $20 for this experience.

This is no fantasy - it's Gwinnett Restaurant Week, which will be held Monday through Thursday. During these four evenings, 19 local restaurants will offer a three-course dinner for $18.18. The price was chosen in honor of 1818, the year Gwinnett County was founded.

Just remember that reservations are required at all of the eateries except Aqua Terra Bistro and Carrabba's Italian Grill Sugarloaf.

Each restaurant created a menu to showcase its cuisine during restaurant week. At Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen in Norcross, customers can choose a Greek salad or shrimp gumbo to start with, followed by either the crawfish etouffee or the seafood platter. The platters include fried shrimp, oysters, a catfish fillet, a stuffed crab and a stuffed shrimp.

"Our seafood platter is our most popular dish and our crawfish etouffee is truly Cajun," said Jill Andrusko, the event sales coordinator at Pappadeaux.

At Aqua Terra in Buford, the menu will feature popular items such as the French country salad and a choice of seared scallops or barbecue pork tenderloin. "It's the customers' favorites," said Robin Beacham, a manager at Aqua Terra.

At Dominick's, which has locations in both Norcross and Lawrenceville, diners will be served a half-order of garlic bread and a half-portion of Caesar or house salad, followed by a choice of a half-order of lasagna bolognese or chicken parmesan. For dessert, they can choose from cannoli or chocolate mousse.

In Duluth, Kurt's and Vreny's Biergarten, which are sister properties that share the same building, will offer the same menu. It will start with a Swiss salad of mixed greens and continue with a choice of roasted salmon filet or classic pork wienerschnitzel. For dessert, Black Forest parfait, which includes layers of chocolate mousse and chocolate cake, will be served.

In 2006, Gwinnett Restaurant Week was held for the first time and was quite successful. "It was probably the most popular promotion we have ever done," said Lisa Anders, the marketing communications director for the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Last year, 12 restaurants took part. This year, seven eateries were added to the 2007 restaurant week list. They include new establishments such as Blue Bay Seafood in Duluth, Picasso Cafe and Wine Bar in Buford and Chef Eric's at The Vines in Loganville.

All of last year's restaurants agreed to participate again this year. "We think it's great for Gwinnett County," Pappadeaux's Andrusko said.

The first restaurant week brought many new customers into Aqua Terra Bistro in downtown Buford. "It was really, really busy last year and we expect the same this year," Beacham said.