In case you haven’t heard already, there are two restaurant weeks coming to town. One is the semi-annual tradition put on by The Hook 1/21-27, at cvilleyum.com, while the other is a new event this year by vmvbrands at charlottesvillerestaurantweek.com, arriving one week after The Hook’s, from 1/28-2/3. Calling itself the “official” 2013 restaurant week, this new contender clearly beat The Hook to the punch, bringing restaurants on board with great speed and agility. And it did so using The Hook’s own tactics – similar pricing, charity beneficiary, one week later. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. That’s what the great one taught us.

If you look to see who is in whose corner, the fight starts to feel ominous. The Hook has 12 restaurants, while vmv brands has 27, including most of the downtown mall restaurants. A couple of restaurants like C&O and Bavarian Chef have hedged their bets by joining both teams.

The deeper question underpinning this fight thus becomes: Are traditions like Restaurant Week sacred? Do we stay loyal to the original when a new admittedly plagiaristic contender is putting on a better show? If so, how do we express that loyalty without penalizing restaurants? Or do we say, “Who cares? Two weeks in a row of great restaurant deals is a win for all!”?

The fight is obviously not yet underway, but stay tuned for reports…