By TRAVIS MORSE
---- — MT. VERNON — A limited number of tickets are still available for the upcoming Progressive Dinner event Feb. 20, presented by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.
Organizers say the event offers a unique way to showcase different restaurants in the county while giving participants an enjoyable night on the town.
“We hope it’s a fun event,” said Michaela Scattone, marketing director for the chamber. “Secondly, it’s a way to showcase our members.”
The program highlights three local restaurants, where participants dine over the course of an evening.
For this year’s dinner Feb. 20, appetizers will be served at Girolamo’s at 5 p.m. Then the entree, smoked chicken and beef brisket, will be served at the Frosty Mug at around 6:30 p.m.
“The Mug has been well-known for their brisket and it’s fantastic,” said Tony Wielt, vice president of special events for the Chamber.
The last stop that evening will be the Rare Chop House at 8 p.m. for dessert and live music. The dessert will include assorted cheesecakes.
Each restaurant on the tour will have a hospitality sponsor. The sponsors this year include Orthopaedic Center of Southern Illinois, Country Financial — Agent Sarah Staley, and the Tedrick Group.
The Progressive Dinner had been an annual tradition in the past, but was discontinued for several years.
Then in 2013, the Chamber revived the program and organizers now hope to keep having the dinner annually.
“After a several year hiatus, we brought it back and this is our second year back,” Wielt said. “It’s an opportunity for various local restaurants to be showcased and attended by several chamber members.”
The Chamber has a number of promotional programs recognizing local businesses, including the Shop It Here campaign, which is geared toward retail stores.
However, the Progressive Dinner is unique in that it spotlights restaurants, Scattone said.
“It’s always nice for us when we can really showcase our members,” Scattone said. “We want to help them get their name out there.”
Chamber officials put a lot of thought into what restaurants to choose, Scattone said. For this year’s dinner, two new restaurants are being showcased, Girolamo’s and the Rare Chop House.
“We tried to make the best decision on where to go and what to feature for the public,” Scattone said. “It should be a really fun night.”
Typically, 45 to 50 people attend each year’s dinner. Last year’s event was popular even though a blizzard took place that day, Scattone said.
“We still had people show up,” Scattone said. “People look forward to it.”
Tickets for the Progressive Dinner are $35 each and can be purchased at the Chamber office, 200 Potomac Boulevard in Mt. Vernon.
For more information, contact the Chamber at 242-5725.