Friday, January 04, 2008

The Prestige Dining Club card - Get one!

2007 has come to a close and as we begin 2008 (Happy New Year!), I realize I need to write about the best $30 I spent last year. If you live in Columbus, Ohio (or Dayton), you should look into this as well.

The Prestige Dining Club.

(above image is from the Prestige Dining Club web site)

Membership in this club entitles you to go to over 100 different restaurants and when you order two entrees you receive the second entrée of equal or lower price free. That’s FREE, as in at not cost, no charge, gratis, on the house…

We first bought into this club back in 1990. The restaurants in it back then allowed us to enjoy many different types of food for the first time, introducing us to Indian foods and many local restaurants we may never have tried otherwise. After a couple of years we let our membership lapse, but renewed it again at the beginning of 2007. Of the 100+ restaurants available to us last year, we were able to go to 19 different, getting 19 free meals for our $30 investment (NOTE: the cost of membership is actually $60, but we jumped on a 2-for-1 deal that was offered and split the cost with a co-worker. Best $30 she’s ever spent, too!). Not bad, especially considering which restaurants they were and what we ate. Unlike the popular “Entertainment” books, there aren’t menu limits (other than excluding buffets, and some minor restriction on hours – very few and still quite flexible). We can order whatever we want and get one entrée FREE. There isn’t a participating restaurant list for last year (and I’m not typing them all in now…), but here’s the current list for 2008 (as of 01/04/08):
94th Aero Squadron
Amazon Grill Steak House
Amul India
Anatolia Cafe
Avesta Eclectic Cuisine
Banana Bean Cafe
Barley's Brewing Co.
Barley's Smokehouse & Brew Pub
Baxter's Bar & Grill
Bayleaf India Bistro
Bistro 86 Asian Fusion
Bogey Inn
The Burgundy Room Dublin
Butch's Italian Cafe
Cafe Mediterranea
Camille's Sidewalk Cafe (3 locations)
Cananas Mexican Restaurant
Carfagna's Kitchen
Caribbean Jerks Island Bar & Grill
Caucus Room
Chile Verde Cafe
Colonial House
Cuisine of India
Don Patron
E J Canon's Cafe
Embassy Grille
G. Michael's Italian American Bistro & Bar
Gahanna Grill
Gibby's New Albany Grill
Grandview Cafe
Happy Greek
Hoover Grille
Hunan J
Inchin's Bamboo Garden
Indian Palace
Johnny Buccelli's (2 locations)
Juergen's European Bakery & Cafe
Justin's Place
The Kitchen Lounge
La Comedia Dinner Theatre
La Hacienda Real
La Scala Italian Bistro
Las Margaritas (5 locations)
Lido's Pizza & Restaurant
Linardos Villa
Los Candiles Mexican Kitchen
Mac's Cafe
Mama Zarella's
Mi Mexico
Morgan House Restaurant
New India Restaurant
O'Shaughnessy's Public House
P.K. O'Ryan's Irish Pub
Pasta Petite
Pesto Creative Italian Bistro
Polaris Grill
Pomegranate Mediterranean Cuisine
Quaker Steak & Lube
R.J. Snappers
Red Brick Tavern
Red Door Tavern
Robin's Italian Cafe
Rotelli - Pizza, Pasta, Perfect
Rothschild Market Cafe
Rude Dog
Scrambler Marie's (5 locations)
Sedeo Cafe
Stone Creek Diner
Stoney River
Taj Palace
Taste of Bali
Thai Lagoon
The Hickory House
The Wine Guy Wine Shop
Trattoria Roma
Tropical Bistro
Tutto Vino
Verdi Ristorante
Village Wines & Bistro
Vino, Vino Restaurant & Wine Bar
Vito's Italian Pub (2 locations)
Warehouse Italian Grill
The Worthington Inn
Zum Rathskeller at the Columbus Maennerchor

Note that nearly all of these are locally owned, not chain restaurants, and many are small family owned places. I consider both of these facts to be a a huge plus as we try to avoid the chains as much as possible (with a one notable exception – more on that in another post to come).

Most of the 19 Prestige club restaurants we visited this past year are places we would have gone to anyway, but we did manage to get 5 new to us. We were disappointed in only one place (one of the new ones), but were still glad we tried it as we had wanted to for some time (more on that in a later post, too).

With the new card for 2008 in hand, we’re ready to hit our old haunts and try a few more new places, too, since many of our dining out choices are determined by what’s in the Prestige Dining Club book.

I’m going to try to post a small review of each of the places we went last year (ambitious, I know), trying to remember what we had. How good each was won’t be a problem.

In the mean time, if you live in Columbus (or Dayton!), order a membership, I implore you!. It’s well worth the money and the adventure.


UPDATE: I forgot to add that we always present the card when we request our check and have never, ever had a waiter/waitress give it or us a funny look - it is always accepted without notice. The club rules require that you tip based on the original full cost of the meal before the free entree is subtracted, and there are a few restaurants that add the tip in (18%) for you, but this isn't a problem for us. I usually tip pretty well; I remember my days as a waiter all too well.

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