Always one to blaze his own trail, chef Mark Peel is taking a stance against dineLA and its Restaurant Week (currently on through July 27) at his LaBrea institution, Campanile. The restaurant's homepage is branded with the organization's logo in a crossed out circle with the words: "Anti-DineLA, the truth about how big business takes over small restaurants." Unfortunately, there's no further diatribe to be found detailing the restaurant's lost love for Restaurant Week, though Peel wouldn't be the first chef we've heard complaining about the high price restaurants pay to join the two-week promotion. Instead, Campanile announces that it will opt out and "pass the savings on to our favorite customers by not paying the big marketing companies or their sponsors!"
To this end, Campanile is offering menus "similar to those offered by the dineLA promotions," but with the promise of wider choices and lower prices. Indeed, over lunch, guests can pay $35 for a starter, main course, and dessert, with four choices under each category along with affordable wine pairings, or have a four course dinner for $35, with choices including a 32-day dry-aged prime rib, duck meatballs, and ravioli with wild mushrooms and fresh sheep's milk cheese.
So far, we see Campanile is alone in its outspoken "Anti-DineLA" protest. And there are plenty of prominent voices cheering on the Restaurant Week promotion. (The Border Grill website even calls it "the most wonderful time of the year.")
But with Peel being such a big influence on so many of the chefs in this town, who knows how quickly and how far this hate could spread? See Campanile's full menu online.
UPDATE: Following this morning's news that Campanile is protesting restaurant week, dineLA responds with the following statement:
It’s unfortunate that Campanile has decided to channel its energy into such a negative campaign. dineLA’s mission is to showcase Los Angeles as a premier dining destination, highlight the diversity of culinary experiences LA has to offer, stimulate business, and introduce new customers to restaurants located in the many neighborhoods throughout LA County. In addition to supporting our city’s culinary community, recent statistics have also shown that participation in dineLA has a strong, positive ROI for restaurants.