2 thumbs up from this restaurant critic

Two thumbs up is the rating this amateur restaurant critic is giving out to a variety of restaurants throughout Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and western Redwood counties. You might be reading this and wondering, what does the lady at the local United Way know about food and what does it possibly have to do with the work of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota?

Various restaurants and organizations throughout our service area are participating in Dine Out for United Way promotions. This is how it works. Restaurants choose to serve as a Dine Out establishment, pick a promotion for their establishment, and then the United Way promotes it for them. This is done in conjunction with our print and radio partners, the United Way website and Facebook page, participating workplace campaign ambassadors and word of mouth.

The restaurant agrees to donate proceeds from their promotion to the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. Those dollars then go to work creating long lasting community change through the building blocks of education, income (financial stability), health, safety and well-being and united against hunger in the five counties we call home. Dine Out funds will be used to support these efforts as well as help the Imagination Library literacy building program.

Current promotions will continue to run through Dec. 10. A full menu can be found by visiting our website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org or by checking the daily schedule on our Facebook page. If your business has not yet signed on to participate, but would still like to, please contact our office.

At the time of this article, I personally had participated in fourteen of the Dine Out events. The rest of my schedule is mapped out for the remainder and I look forward to participating in each and every one of them. Dining Out for United Way not only invests dollars in our local communities, but has encouraged me to try new restaurants and also try menu items from those establishments I was already quite familiar with for the first time.

While all of the Dine Out’s have been amazing and delicious, I wanted to share just a few of the highlights thus far:

Working in the iconic Granite Falls Kiwanis popcorn stand, waitressing at the Lakeside Hideaway in Currie and bussing tables at the Pizza Ranch in Marshall. All of these establishments donated a percentage of sales one evening/weekend all of the tips United Way staff and board members could earn.

Witnessing Burger King give-away 374 ice-cream cones in a four-hour time span and then donating a $1 for each one of those free cones back to the United Way.

Ordering coffee from the Left Bank Caf in Slayton for my coffee-loving husband as a thank you gift.

Helping a board member finish off an order of Crab Rangoon at the Hunan Lion, dining at Bootlegger’s in Granite Falls with an old friend, trying (and loving) the food at the Hindi Store, watching Toni’s Depot tally up their burger count and appreciating four of the Subway’s in the area picking a date to all contribute 20 percent of their daily sales.

I encourage all of you to visit our website and try a new restaurant or menu item. It’s good for business, good for the community and tastes delicious. Visit our website www.UnitedWaySWMN.org for remaining details, dates and locations.