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Over 300 people attended the First Bite event, which kicked off the Journal Star’s seventh annual Lincoln Restaurant Week on July 25 with one-bite dishes from 20 local restaurants, including interactive chef demos and cocktails.

The Darryl White trio entertained with live jazz. A silent auction of gift baskets, products, travel and services from area businesses will benefit the Food Bank of Lincoln.

Some of the city's best restaurants offered fixed-price, three-course lunch and/or dinner menus as part of Lincoln Restaurant Week, July 26 through Aug. 1, with prices ranging from $9.99 to $49.95.

In a post-event survey, 76% of attendees said they were looking forward to trying samples from restaurants they have never been to before, said Deanna Walz, Lincoln Journal Star event specialist.

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“The most talked-about bites came from Carmela’s Wilderness Ridge, Mulberry BBQ, Screamer’s and High Society Cheesecake,” Walz added.

Also in the survery, 71% of attendees said they planned to visit one of the participating restaurants during Lincoln Restaurant Week, and 97% planned to do so in the next six months.

“Our goal was to introduce the community to some of the amazing tastes of Lincoln,” Walz said. “Lincoln has some really top-notch restaurants, and it was great to be able to spotlight the creations of these amazing chefs to a new audience.”

Participating restaurants included Billy’s Restaurant, Carmela’s Bistro, Granite City, Normandy, Miller Time Pub & Grill, Venue, Piedmont Bistro, Cactus, Screamer’s, Granite City, Graduate Hotel, Florios, Green Flash, Hopcat, Rodizio Grill, Wilderness Ridge, Issara, Stur22, Blue Orchid and High Society Cheesecake.

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