Culinary industry leaders look forward to Quad Cities Restaurant Week

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:26 PM CDT
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - Quad Cities Restaurant Week starts on Monday, and businesses in the area are getting ready for the annual celebration of food and drinks.

Visit Quad Cities’ held its AccelerateVQC at Mercado on Fifth in Moline on Thursday. It’s a quarterly networking event for professionals around the area, often discussing topics impacting the QC.

With Restaurant Week around the corner, Thursday’s panel focused on the hospitality industry.

K.C. Ross or TV6′s Chef Keys was one of the panelists. She said it was great to hear from other culinary leaders.

“We have an impact on everyone that we touch,” Ross said. “Food is not just food, it’s a way for us to communicate and to commune as well as to connect with everyone else.”

Karen Garcia is the co-owner of Cocina Verde, a plant-based Mexican food truck. She said she looks forward to celebrating QC food all week long.

“Even though we won’t participate as a food truck, we can participate as customers,” Garcia said. “[We can] share, and go into different restaurants and try everybody else’s food.”

The event highlighted the diversity of business models and kinds of food across the area.

Elly Vos is the Director of Culinary Operations at Nest Cafe. The restaurant operates on a pay-as-you-can model with a different menu every day.

Vos said it’s great to see the variety in the QCA grow.

“[New restaurants are] Getting [customers] out of the box, really trying to play with different flavors and different types of cuisines that the Quad Cities hasn’t seen before,” Vos said.

One of those newer restaurants is Verde, serving contemporary Mexican food.

It’s been a rough few years for the restaurant industry, which is why General Manager, Dominic Perez said it’s important to eat locally.

“You don’t have to go to a chain restaurant every time,” Perez said. “We have many options in the Quad Cities ... It’s nice to see [restaurants] showcased by the Quad Cities for the Quad Cities.”

Restaurant Week is not just a celebration of food, but of the people serving those dishes.

Katrina Keuning, a digital marketing storyteller for Visit QC, said the group is also accepting nominations for residents’ favorite employees around the area.

“You can have a delicious taco or a delicious stack of pancakes but I think the more memorable thing that you take away is how the server you know, connected with you or made you feel welcome,” Keuning said.

Breweries, bars and restaurants from Muscatine to Geneseo will offer all sorts of deals next week.

A record 80 restaurants and bars are participating in QC Restaurant Week 2023. A full list of discounts and businesses can be found at