DENVER -- Denver residents can begin salivating now for the 9th-annual Denver Restaurant Week. The menus and list of participating restaurants have been released for the culinary event, which is slated for Feb. 23 to March 8.
"The great fun of restaurant week is gathering together friends, exploring the hundreds of menus on the website, and then experimenting and trying new restaurants or revisiting old favorites," said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER, in a statement.
In 2012, 339 restaurants across the Mile High City participated in the event. During Restaurant Week, diners can enjoy prix fixe menus at restaurants for the mile-high price of $52.80 per two people. (For newcomers to Denver, the city's elevation is 5,280 feet, or a mile high.) The offer is also available for $26.40 per person.
So far, more than 350 restaurants have signed up to participate for 2013. The list of restaurants is available at DenverRestaurantWeek.com. "We will continue to post menus on the site as we get them from the restaurants, so it pays to check the site frequently," Scharf said.
Denver Restaurant Week is modeled after events in other cities such as New York City, which is credited with launching the first restaurant week in 1992. Restaurant weeks are usually held in the slow period for dining, either in the chilly months of winter or the dog days of summer.
According to a forecast by the National Restaurant Association, total U.S. restaurant sales in 2013 will come to more than $660 billion in 2013, a 3.8% increase from the prior year. "In 2013, restaurant operators will continue to explore ways of navigating the rocky economic landscape to find the road to success," said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, in a statement.
One key ingredient to the success of a restaurant is attracting new customers. Denver Restaurant Week allows restaurants to showcase their wares for customers who might not otherwise visit. In 2012, surveys indicate more than 400,000 meals were served during Denver Restaurant Week.
Denver diners looking to sample some of the newest stars on Denver's dining scene can make reservations at restaurants which opened in 2012, including Ace Eat Serve, Al Lado and Central Bistro & Bar. Any recipe for enjoying Denver Restaurant Week includes making reservations, however.
"Planning is an important part of restaurant week," Scharf said. "Certainly, some restaurants will fill up early at prime dining times, but there are many off-peak dining times in the two week period that remain available, and of course, we encourage diners to experiment and try new restaurants."