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September 18, 2014

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Restaurant Week brings discounted dining for a good cause

Image

Courtesy of MGM Grand

Shibuya inside MGM Grand

List of participating Strip restaurants:

    Aria: AMERICAN FISH, Blossom, Jean Georges Steakhouse, Julian SerranoSage, Sirio Ristorante and UNION Restaurant & Lounge

    Bellagio: FIX restaurant & bar, Jasmine, Olive's, Osteria del Circo, Prime Steakhouse, Sensi an Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge

    Caesars Palace: Bradley Ogden, Mesa Grill and Rao's Las Vegas

    Harrah's Las Vegas: Kerry Simon's KGB

    Luxor: TENDER Steak & Seafood

    Mandalay Bay: Aureole, Fleur de Lys, miX, Shanghai Lilly, STRIPSTEAK and Rick Moonen's RM seafood

    Mandarin Oriental: MOzen Bistro

    MGM Grand: L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, NOBHILL TAVERN by Michael Mina, Diego, SEABLUE, Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak, FiAMMA Trattoria & Bar, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill; also a Japanese beer fest Thursday at Shibuya

    The Mirage: BLT Burger, Fin, Japonais, Kokomo's, Onda, Samba and STACK Restaurant & Bar

    Monte Carlo: Andre's Restaurant & Lounge, BRAND Steakhouse and Diablo's Cantina

    The Palazzo: Dos Caminos, LAVO, Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro and Table 10

    Palms: Alize at the Top of the Palms

    Rio: Café Martorano

    Venetian: Delmonico Steakhouse, Pinot Brasserie, TAO Asian Bistro and Valentino

    Wynn Las Vegas and Encore: STRATTA and Society Café

For Las Vegas foodies, the next few days mean a chance to experience some of the city's finest dining on the cheap. It's called Restaurant Week, a week that some locals crave all year and frequent tourists plan their vacations around.

But for the Three Square charity and food bank, the week has more significance. Restaurant Week is one of its biggest fundraising events.

Now in its fourth year, more than 100 restaurants are on board for Las Vegas Restaurant Week. The restaurants typically offer three-course menus, all priced at $20.10, $30.10 or $50.10, with restaurants choosing to donate between $4 and $6 from each fixed-price meal.

Though the donation might not seem substantial, every dollar a restaurant donates equals three meals for someone who's hungry, Three Square President, Chief Executive and Co-Founder Julie Murray said.

"It's equally about raising funds to end hunger as it is to raise awareness. Having 100 restaurants and 100 chefs and 100 staff be knowledgeable about our mission and passionately talking to their guests about Three Square makes a big difference," Murray said.

Last year, Three Square raised $55,000 among 85 restaurants during the annual event, allowing it to serve 165,000 meals. Murray said she expects to raise more this year because of an increase in restaurants participating.

Restaurant Week started in 2007 as Three Square's first community outreach event. Murray credits MGM Resorts International food and beverage executives David McIntyre and Scott Hamilton for helping to start the Las Vegas version of Restaurant Week.

"The idea came up because we needed to show locals the great restaurants the city has and this gave us a new opportunity to do that," Hamilton said. "Three Square seemed like a natural partner. There is a great synergy there."

In the first year, 51 restaurants hopped on board, raising about $21,000. Soon after, other restaurants that were hesitant about the concept joined the original 51 eateries.

Although other cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., all host their own versions of Restaurant Week, Murray and Hamilton said Las Vegas is unique because the event benefits a charity.

"When you combine locals and tourists, I would say that this is the largest volume of people in a week's time that are coming to help us end hunger," Murray said. "In these dire times, it's taking a lot of creativity for communities to figure out how to meet the needs and by having locals and tourists dine out, they're able to be a part of the solution."

Restaurant Week begins today and continues through Sunday. For more information and a full list of participants, visit Three Square's website.

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