What do you know about Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, a tradition celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2015?
Most folks are already aware that it’s a great deal: scores of restaurants around town participate in the September-long program, which offers diners $33, three-course meals – a considerable discount for more than a few on the impressive roster.
But did you know that the same program that benefits Orlando’s economy also benefits its community?
Smoked tuna, one of the pintxos you'll find on the special menu at Txokos — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
Indeed, one dollar from each meal served during Magical Dining Month goes directly to charity.
“In 2014, we raised $111,000 for Foundation for Foster Children,” says Mark Jaronski, VP of Communications for Visit Orlando. “We are grateful that our industry can make a meaningful impact on local charities that do so much for our residents.”
Each year, Visit Orlando seeks applications from nonprofits, choosing anywhere from one to three organizations to receive support from their various fundraising efforts with partners within the tourism community.
“We look for organizations that are not only based in Orlando, but also offer the majority of their services to the Central Florida community,” Jaronski explains. “Naturally, we have a special place in our hearts for those who work to benefit children.”
This year’s recipient is ELEVATE ORLANDO, an educational, civic nonprofit that provides life skills training to urban youth, equipping them with the means to graduate and plan for their future.
Grilled calamari and veal Milanese will be among the options on Ravello's $33, three-course offering — Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
It’s knowledge like this that makes these dinners out even sweeter – not only for Orlando visitors, but also for locals who enjoy exploring all their growing city has to offer. It often wins restaurants a whole new roster of regulars.
Newcomers to the Magical Dining Month roster include some 10Best-list veterans, in fact: Txokos Basque Kitchen at East End Market in the funky Audubon Park Garden District; American Q at the B Resort, which is super convenient to Downtown Disney; and Ravello, an elegant venue for authentic Italian at the posh and beautiful Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.
With Magical Dining Month options topping out at more than 70, choices abound city-wide.
“Visit Orlando added more newly opened restaurants in 2015 than ever before,” says Jaronski. “This year has been particularly robust in terms of new retail, dining and entertainment venues opening across our destination, so it’s fitting to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Magical Dining in this way.”
Magical Dining Month runs for the entire month of September. Be sure to ask for the Magical Dining menu at participating restaurants.
Check Visit Orlando's website for more details.
Magical "Marmitako" includes serrano-wrapped cobia, pipperada broth and hash brown; it's another entree featured at Txokos — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson