Luck combines with healthy food

Published 10:58 pm Friday, March 7, 2014

A week full of sweet, savory and good ol’ Irish fun is set for next week as the city’s annual Spring Restaurant Week coincides with the yearly Shamrock Stroll in downtown.

An extra helping of excitement is added this year with the first Healthy Dessert Contest from Healthy People Healthy Suffolk. At least nine restaurants participating in Restaurant Week also are involved in the dessert contest.

“The ultimate goal is to show that when healthy options are presented and promoted, a lot of people will make the choice for the healthy option,” said Jett Johnson of Healthy People Healthy Suffolk.

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While “healthy dessert” may seem like an oxymoron, it doesn’t have to be, Johnson said.

“You can make pretty much any dessert with alternative options,” he said. “There’s always a light option.”

Johnson hopes it will inspire restaurants to include more healthy items on their menus and make sure the healthy items already there are clearly marked. It could also inspire folks to start thinking more about what they eat, he said. The contest is done in partnership with Obici Healthcare Foundation, the Tourism Division, the American Diabetes Association and the Suffolk News-Herald.

A four-person “local celebrity” panel will try all the desserts and vote for their choices and for best presentation, Johnson said. Diners will get the chance to scan a QR code right at the table to vote for their favorite.

Some folks may not have room for dessert, though, after getting through the three-course meals offered for Restaurant Week, which is being held March 15-22.

Seventeen participating restaurants will offer three-course menus at the deluxe ($10 lunch/$20 dinner) and premier ($15 lunch/$30 dinner) levels. There are no coupons, vouchers or tickets needed; just order from the Restaurant Week menu.

“Suffolk Restaurant Week is a great way for people to get out and try an eatery they may not have tried before,” Katie Kelley of the Tourism Division wrote in an email. “The prices are so agreeable that you can get a fantastic meal at any of the participating restaurants and maybe add it to your list of favorites for the rest of the year.”

Kelley said restaurants keep participating to show their pride in the city’s culinary community, and she is delighted by the new healthy dessert contest.

“It shows their commitment to bringing great, healthy food to a wider demographic,” she said.

Folks coming downtown on the first Saturday of Restaurant Week will be especially lucky, since it coincides with the Shamrock Stroll. Downtown businesses and restaurants will offer live entertainment, refreshments, deals, Irish foods and beverages and more.

Snapping a photo with “Parker P. Nut” in front of all About Virginia and More on North Main Street and uploading it to the Love Local Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LoveLocalBuySuffolk) will get the winning photo a special prize.

Finish off the night on March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Suffolk Visitor Center Pavilion, 524 N. Main St., for a showing of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.”

For more information on the events, visit www.Suffolk-Fun.com.

Participants for Restaurant Week are as follows:

  • Al Forno Pizzeria Italian Restaurant
  • Amici’s Pizza Café
  • Baron’s Pub
  • Cedar Point Country Club
  • Constant’s Wharf Grill
  • East Coast Taco Company
  • The Egg Bistro
  • George’s Steakhouse
  • Great American Grill
  • Harper’s Table
  • Mason’s Seafood & Chophouse
  • Mosaic by Holland’s
  • Nana Sushi
  • The Plaid Turnip
  • River Stone Chophouse
  • Suffolk BBQ
  • Vintage Tavern

Participants in the Shamrock Stroll include:

  • All About Virginia & More
  • Amici’s Pizza Café
  • As Time Goes By Antiques
  • The Baron’s Pub
  • C-Fit Studio
  • Constant’s Wharf Grill at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront
  • East Coast Taco Company
  • Harper’s Table
  • Jester’s Gallery Shop
  • Maya Couture on Main
  • Mosaic by Holland’s
  • The Plaid Turnip
  • Planters Peanut Center
  • Shooting Star Gallery
  • Simply Susan’s Bakery
  • Suffolk Art Gallery
  • Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts
  • Suffolk Public Library
  • Suffolk Visitor Center and Pavilion