Rivertown Dine-Around

Last year’s Rivertown Dine-Around featured stops for small plates during a one-day event. This year, the Dine-Around takes on a restaurant week format, with 20 eateries offering full-course meals.

This year’s Rivertown Dine-Around is different because of COVID-19, and the difference will make the event even more fun, longer-lasting, and more beneficial for Conway businesses.

Instead of just one day as in the past, the event is from Sept. 21-26. And, instead of just menu samplings being offered, participants are invited to have full breakfasts, lunches and dinners at Conway’s outstanding eateries.

“It’s going to be a restaurant week,” said Hillary Howard, executive director of Conway Downtown Alive.

Sponsored by Coastal Carolina University and HTC, the event was started 11 years ago to showcase restaurants where folks may not have eaten previously.

“We all have our favorite places where we order our favorite things, and there might still be that place on the corner people haven’t experienced,” Howard said.

Last year there were about 14 restaurants involved and this year, close to 20 are expected.

Because of COVID, Howard explained, several restaurants are at 50% capacity, and while they’re certainly looking to reach that, “take-out is the icing on the cake.”

The Rivertown Dine-Around, she added, is a perfect opportunity to support those restaurants by spending the week eating in downtown Conway.

“Everyone’s been home cooking, cooking, cooking during this time,” Howard said. “Now people need to get out and make a week of it and schedule several opportunities to experience downtown’s restaurants.”

Some of those restaurants have made changes even some locals may not be aware of. Among them is the new restaurant The Brunch on Fourth Avenue. TBL Café, where Chan’s was for many years on Third Avenue, offers “meat and three.” Copper’s, which traditionally has a buffet, now has order-from-the-menu options because of COVID restrictions.

And, along with new restaurants and new menu items, outdoor dining is now a standard part of enjoying a meal downtown Conway.

“In the wake of everything that’s going on [with the pandemic], several of our downtown restaurants, including the Trestle and Rivertown Bistro, have added outside dining. That might be something people aren’t familiar with, and it’s another option,” Howard said.

It’s not necessary to register for this year’s Rivertown Dine-Around and there will be a range of prices.

“There will be your $5-$7 lunch and your $25 dinner, so there are prices for any budget,” Howard said.

The participating restaurants will be open for eat-in dining with social distancing restrictions, outdoor dining or take-out. Visit www.conwayalive.com the week before the event for full menus. People can plan their meals while someone else does the cooking and the cleaning up.

In previous years, Rivertown Dine-Around has coincided with CCU’s homecoming or family weekends, but this year, those events are virtual.

The Dine-Around, however, is bigger and more extensive than ever. And, it’s a perfect opportunity to patronize the businesses that make eating out in Conway so special.

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I'm the assistant editor of the Carolina Forest Chronicle. I write news and business features. Have a great story idea? Please call me at 843-602-9306.

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