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Restaurant Week benefits Leadership Toledo programs

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    Lemon Italian Cream Cake at Sebastiano’s Italiano, one of many establishments taking part in this year's Restaurant Week Toledo.

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    Caprese salad on a skewer at Mancy's, one of the establishments taking part in this year's Restaurant Week.

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    Executive Director of Leadership Toledo Anna Toney

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    The grilled chicken wrap with sweet potato chips at Fowl and Fodder, one of many establishments taking part in this year's Restaurant Week Toledo.

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Restaurant Week Toledo — everyone’s favorite food fest — is almost here. It starts on Monday and runs through March 4.

“It’s such fun,” said Anna Toney, executive director of Leadership Toledo, which presents the event and benefits from it. Go out to eat at a participating restaurant (a favorite place, one you’ve been wanting to try, or all of the above), select from the special RWT menu being offered, and a donation will be made to the organization. This gastronomic gala supports youth service programs, gives a boost to restaurants during their “slow time of year,” and offers diners an opportunity to “celebrate the local food scene.”

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Executive Director of Leadership Toledo Anna Toney

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It’s a “win-win-win,” said Ms. Toney.

Leadership Toledo hosts this annual dining extravaganza to raise funds for its three youth-oriented initiatives. “Our net profit — all of it — goes back to support” the students, Ms. Toney said. (In 2017, Restaurant Week earned $80,000 for the cause.)

Each of the programs for young people works towards “creating a culture of leadership in youth,” she said. Youth Leadership Toledo offers 50 high school sophomores an opportunity to spend nine months learning and practicing skills to become strong leaders. Youth in Philanthropy Encouraging Excellence, for high school juniors and seniors, builds on skills already gained in the introductory sessions to foster volunteering. And Students in Action, affiliated with the national Jefferson Awards Foundation, inspires service and stewardship.

The programs strive to nurture “stronger leaders connecting to their community,” Ms. Toney said.

Forty restaurants are participating in Restaurant Week this year: an eclectic mix of coffee shops, fine dining spots, cozy cafés, family-friendly diners, and ethnic establishments. The full list, along with their special Restaurant Week menus, is available at restaurantweektoledo.com.

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It’s important to Leadership Toledo, Ms. Toney said, that there is something for everyone in terms of price, location, and cuisine. Well-being and diet are considered, too.

“We were thrilled that Mercy Health came on” as a sponsor, Ms. Toney said, noting that designated meal options will be given the organization’s stamp of approval as a healthy choice as an aid to diners.

Restaurant Week is one of the busiest weeks of the year for area eateries, Ms. Toney said.

“[It’s] just a really cool, unique event,” she said.

And it’s a diner’s delight: no grocery shopping, no food prepping, and, best of all, no dirty dishes to wash after meals. Enjoy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, coffee breaks, and more, all while supporting Leadership Toledo.

Restaurant Week Toledo is all about food, fun, and investing in our future.

Contact Mary Bilyeu at 419-724-6155 or mbilyeu@theblade.com, and follow her at facebook.com/thebladefoodpage.

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