Thursday, October 28, 2010

Food fight: Renegade gets flack for unofficial restaurant week.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 12:00 AM

It's an unusual-looking cease and desist letter, but owners of a Carytown restaurant are talking with their lawyers about someone's problem with their renegade participation in Richmond Restaurant Week, now under way.

The annual event is a fundraiser for FeedMore, the city's community food bank and Meals on Wheels program. About two dozen of Richmond's best restaurants participate by offering a fixed-price, three course meal to diners, raising enough money last year to pay for about one million meals for the needy.

Newcomers to the project this time out include Secco Wine Bar and Amour Wine Bistro in Carytown. Another fairly new restaurant, Bonvenu, was not selected to participate, according to the cafAc's manager Charmagne Doyle, but decided to join in unofficially. That's what appears to have prompted a letter that urges the restaurant to stop doing so immediately. “It says that if we don't stop, they'll take away our chance of doing it in the future,” Doyle says, wary about starting a restaurant war over a popular community fundraising effort. “We're not here to undermine anybody but none of the reasoning here is logical.”

Not clear is the source of the letter, delivered to Bonvenu earlier this week. At least two other restaurants, Coast and the Melting Pot, are also participating unofficially; staff members at those businesses say they have not heard complaints.

Longtime event organizer Aline Reitzer of Acacia Mid-town, citing an extraordinary level of business this week, declines toAÿdiscuss the issue until the event ends on Sunday. By all measures, this year's RRW has been busier than usual.

In the meantime, Bonvenu will continue to offer its fund-raising menu, and, Doyle says, cut a separate check to the charity.

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