Eat it up! 8th Annual Denver Restaurant Week ranks largest in the nation for second year running.
$52.80 dining deals enjoyed Feb. 25 to March 9. Check out my top ten picks for restaurant week.
Denver boasts the “fittest” residents of any major city in the country, and the Mile High City fuels its machines during Denver Restaurant Week (DRW) with a record 340 of the city’s best eateries offering an astonishing array of steaks, fish, pasta, sushi, deserts, drinks, and more.
Organized by VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau, the eighth annual DRW will once again run two weeks long, from February 25 to March 9. During DRW, all 340 participating restaurants will offer multi-course dinners for the “mile high” price of $52.80 for two (Denver is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level – one mile high) or $26.40 for one, tax and gratuity not included.
The total of 340 participating restaurants is a record number for the event, up 11 percent from the “Denver-centric” 303 venues that participated in 2011. VISIT DENVER believes it is the largest restaurant week in the nation in terms of the number of participating restaurants.
The unprecedented quantity of restaurants is matched by their quality. All seven of Denver’s 2012 AAA Four Diamond award winners (Colt & Gray, Edge, Mizuna, Panzano, Palace Arms, Restaurant Kevin Taylor and Rioja) are participating in DRW.
“Last year, some 360,480 special meals were served during restaurant week, and this year, with even more restaurants participating, we are confident that we will set a new record,” stated Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER. “The fun of restaurant week is to grab some friends, go to the website, and head out on the town,” Scharf said. “You’ll get a great deal and a bill that is very easy to split.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock wore chef’s “whites” and joined 50 of the participating chefs at a kick-off event, stating, “Denver Restaurant Week is a gift from restaurants to their most loyal patrons, the people who live, work and play in Denver. Serving and supporting our unique culture and character, restaurants in every corner of Denver contribute a great deal to deliver a world class city where everyone matters.”
DRW was created by VISIT DENVER in 2005 and has been growing by leaps and bounds. Some 567,243 unique visitors went to the Denver Restaurant Week website last year, viewing more than eight million menus, 14 menus for every resident in the City and County of Denver.
RESTAURANT WEEK ETIQUETTE
All speakers at the press event stressed proper etiquette for DRW including:
- Never make more than one reservation for each night
- If you cannot honor your reservation, cancel as soon as possible
- Remember to tip your server generously in the spirit of the wonderful deals offered this week
- Consider getting a bottle of wine with dinner (under Colorado law, you can take any unfinished wine with you)
NEW IN 2012
Notably, 36 restaurants join DRW for the first time in 2012. Other new items include:
Denver Restaurant Week Badges
In 2012, DRW offers fun badges of honor that diners can display on their Facebook walls, earned by first creating a “Must-Dine” list (at the website DenverRestaurantWeek.com) and then by checking-in throughout the two-week program. Badges are awarded for various types of activity during DRW, and the most coveted badge of all is “The 14er.” This badge goes to people who dine out at participating DRW restaurants on all 14 nights of the event, Feb. 25 to March 9, 2012. Other badges include:
- Eat Drink Denver: Just create a Denver Dining List on the DRW website to unleash this badge
- The First-Timer: This badge is given when the diner checks into their first restaurant during Denver Restaurant Week
- School Night: Everyone deserves a study break! Dining out on a weekday evening will earn this shiny badge
- The Leap Year: This badge can only be unlocked every four years on February 29 (Leap Year), so diners should make reservations early to earn this beauty
- The 14er: The most coveted of all badges, this one requires dining out at a participating DRW restaurant every night during the 14-day event
New Food Website
In recognition of the importance of culinary tourism, VISIT DENVER is launching a new food-centric website,EatDrinkDenver.com. The site, launching Feb. 22, features information, articles, and news about food festivals, farmers’ markets, specialty food stores, street food, beer, wine, spirits, chefs, and more – all in one place. “There are sites that deal with local beers, with farm-to-table food, farmer’s markets, or international food festivals, but no site deals with all aspects of local food. Our site fills that need,” said Richard Scharf.
Eat Drink Denver is divided into five categories:
- Farm Fresh / Specialty Food Stores: Dedicated to produce and dairy products in Colorado, including tips on where to get the best, freshest items
- Beer / Wines / Spirits: Offers extensive coverage of the ever-expanding world of Colorado microbreweries, wineries and distilleries
- Food Festivals / Events: A comprehensive roundup of the city’s best food events, including everything from signature events like Denver Restaurant Week and Denver Beer Fest to cultural/culinary festivals like the Greek Festival and Oktoberfest Denver
- Chefs: Shines a spotlight on the men and women behind the city’s best restaurants, including chef Q&A’s, recipes and more
- Street Food: Covers the Mile High City’s burgeoning street food scene, including local food truck events such as Civic Center EATS, and much more
For a complete list of all 340 participating restaurants and menus, visit: DenverRestaurantWeek.com.
Denver Restaurant Week is presented by VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau. Sponsors include: Mirassou Winery, Alamos Winery, William Hill Winery, Louis M. Marini Winery, the “Denver Post”, 5280 magazine, RTD, 9 News, Colorado Restaurant Association, Westword, Johnson & Wales University Denver, Downtown Denver Partnership Business Improvement District, Open Table and Eat Denver.