Prime Dime: Discount dinners take chilly town by storm

biltmoreThe recently renovated Biltmore is one of several Corner spots participating in the event.

Charlottesville's first "Dinner on a Dime" kicked off with a bang on Monday, October 4, with participating eateries reporting a spike in business as wallet-conscious diners chow down with abandon–- thanks to the $9.99 price for an entr©e and appetizer or dessert.

"People realize it's a good deal," says Andrew Laurence, general manager at Enoteca wine bar on the Downtown Mall. One of the 12 local restaurants participating in the Hook-sponsored event, Enoteca reported a 30 percent increase in its Monday night business, but it's not alone in seeing reservations swelling.

"I've had constant calls," says Mono Loco general manager Alisha McLaughlin. "It probably gets people out that haven't been to the restaurant before."

That "nouvelle Latin" eatery on Water Street did, however, report a wrinkle in the form of some people trying to stretch the deal even further by trying to split an order. "You gotta order for however many people are eating," urges McLaughlin.

Downtown eateries aren't the only ones benefiting from the week-long buzz, as Maharaja in the Seminole Square shopping center also saw a "good crowd" on Monday, according to Raymond Madeira, the owner's uncle.

The event is a sibling of sorts to Charlottesville Restaurant Week, the semi-annual smorgasbord that offers a $26 price tag for a three-course meal at the town's most upscale restaurants. Dinner on a Dime offers two courses at more casual establishments so diners can treat a family of four to dinner for less than $40 (excluding libations, tax, and tip.)

While many venues are accepting reservations, some–- including Brookville on the Downtown Mall–- says they've switched to a walk-in only policy in response to the high demand. (And, due to the chillier temperatures, Mono Loco switched off its gazpacho in favor of warm tomato bisque.)

The event runs nightly through Sunday, October 10.


ouch! Anonymous internet commenters issue stinging rebuke to other anonymous internet commenter! Stop the presses!!

Clearly I need to rethink my life if my stinging rebuke is so easily and stingingly rebuked!

Sorry to limn some facetiousness with my biting commentary. Thank you guys for showing me The Way.

meanwhile wrote, "Betting may commence on how soon this comment gets ââ?¬Å?deleted by moderator””Š”Š"

you daring rebel, you.

meanwhile... That was pretty gosh darn clever of you to put that bet thing in your earlier post. No way they could delete your stinging and insightful commentary after that without proving you to be "the MAN" I can just imaging the Hook staff standing around, heads hanging in shame, while Hawes whips them all by reading it aloud.


Keep up the good work buddy!


nothing wrong with keeping any media outlet honest. The hook deserves the respect it earns and deserves to be called out when necessary. the coin has two sides.

well said, Logan.

Man people are tough on the Hook. While I agree that the picture is a bit disingenuous, I highly doubt that it was intentional, more likely it was a stock photo of one of the participating restaurants. Yes this is a fluff piece, but the hook is also a community newspaper who is promoting an event that they put together. What do you honestly expect?

I went with a group to west main last night and had a great time. Overall the food was good and a good value. I imagine that that it was a positive for west main as well, our alcohol bill made up for any loss they had on the food. They also got 6 people through the door that they wouldn't have had otherwise, and we are likely to go back now. That on top of the fact that the local foodbank got a $6 dollar donation they wouldn't have otherwise. Sounds like a win/win/win to me.

Greg! How dare you! This is BIG NEWS and SHOULD BE trumpeted to the skies by all media!

The fact that the hook sponsors this event and receives advertising dollars from participating restaurants is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to this juicy, fact filled news story!!

Maybe the hook will get another central virginia, small media outlet prize out of this excellent, excellent journalism!

Kudos to the hook's staff for putting this together. Heck! I smell a Pulitzer!!!!

Betting may commence on how soon this comment gets "deleted by moderator"......

It is disingenuous to show a picture of college kids drinking at the Biltmore as if they are participants at this Hook-sponsored event.

nice photoshop :P

I think it is unfair to disallow the splitting of an entree between two people. That is how my wife and I always order, just because we neither one can finish an entree entirely.It is a waste of food to order two entrees, and therefor a waste of money and that is a secret of ours to afford eating out a lot.
How can that be enforced, what if two people are at a table and only one is eating? Would we be ejected or arrested if I took food from my wife's plate? Such deep issues at play here, oh no , another sleepless night.