"One of the challenges in past Denver Restaurant Weeks was that we had no way of creating a conversation with all prospective diners during the event," said Justin Bresler, vice president of marketing for VISIT DENVER, in a statement. "By having people sign up through Facebook, we will have a database of people who we can engage with throughout the event."
To register, users sign up for a Facebook app and select menus of restaurants that sound appealing. Once users dine at the restaurants, they can receive a badge on Facebook to spread the word to other friends. Badges include "School Night" for dining out on a weekday evening, "The Leap Year" for dining out on Feb. 29, and even "The 14er" for dining out every night of Restaurant Week.
"We have heard of people who dined out on all 14 nights in previous Denver Restaurant Weeks, and we wanted to have a way of recognizing and honoring them," said Bresler. "The few, the brave and the obviously hungry foodies who tackle 14 restaurants in a row need to have something to acknowledge their accomplishment, and so we created 'The 14er.'"
While eating out 14 nights in a row may stretch most stomachs -- and wallets -- sampling new restaurants is a good way to enjoy Denver Restaurant Week. The event features almost 300 restaurants from across the Denver metro area. All menus include an appetizer, entree and dessert, and some menus include wine as well.
Most restaurants require reservations for Denver Restaurant Week, and many popular eateries fill up early. The post-Valentine's Day lull in dining out can be amply filled by many of the menus available for Denver Restaurant Week. Last year, more than 360,000 meals were served during Denver Restaurant Week.
New restaurants participating in Denver Restaurant Week include Linger in the Highlands neighborhood and Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar in LoDo. Both opened in 2011 to rave reviews. Other recent entrants to the Mile High City's scene include Pinche Taqueria near City Park and Beatrice & Woodsley on South Broadway.
Perennial favorites also join the fray for Denver Restaurant Week. Elway's Cherry Creek and Shanahan's Steakhouse serve up Bronco-sized portions of steaks, while Carmine's on Penn and Shells and Sauce dish up traditional Italian fare. Chain restaurants such as P.F. Chang's China Bistro and Rodizio Grill also are participating in the culinary event.