DENVER -- Denver Restaurant Week is serving up a few changes for the 10th anniversary of the event in 2014. The price will go up from $52.80 per couple to $30 per person, and another restaurant week will be added in August to supplement the February week.
“A summer version of the event offers restaurants a lot of interesting serving and meal options,” said Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER, in a statement. “Restaurants will be able to offer outdoor dining and feature fresh Colorado produce. We anticipate that summer menus will be very different than the winter ones, and they will be able to showcase the farm-to-fork movement that is so popular in the state."
The event organized by VISIT DENVER will take place from Feb. 22 - 28, 2014, with the summer encore following from Aug. 23 - 29, 2014. Denver Restaurant Week launched in 2004 as a one-week event, but expanded to two weeks in 2010. The full list of participating restaurants is available at DenverRestaurantWeek.com.
Last year, Denver Restaurant Week dished out 436,650 meals from 355 restaurants, but appetites waned over the second week. “Apparently people’s eyes are bigger than their stomachs, and as we got into the second week, the participating restaurants saw a lot of people either cancel their reservations or simply not show up,” Scharf said.
The $52.80 price point was designed to showcase the Mile High City's altitude of 5,280 feet, but the price had not risen since its debut in 2004. Per person, the previous price worked out to $26.40, and organizers hope the increase of $3.60 will be palatable to diners. The $30 covers a prixe fixe menu designed by the restaurant, but does not include tip or taxes. Some restaurants include alcohol in their menus.
“We’ve held the same price for nine years, and while it’s hard to lose the fun of the $52.80 price point, it was necessary for the restaurants. The new price will allow chefs to get creative again and offer dishes and portions that better represent their normal fare,” Scharf said.
Dining out during Denver Restaurant Week can provide a boost for the city, as well as the state economy. According to the National Restaurant Association, every $1 spent at restaurants in Colorado generates $1.15 in additional sales for the state. In 2013, the restaurant industry in Colorado also accounted for 10% of employment in the Centennial State.
New York City is credited with launching the first Restaurant Week in 1992 to showcase restaurants in the Big Apple. Compared to other cities around the U.S., Denver's $30 tab seems in line with major markets. This year, Restaurant Week in Washington, D.C., costs $20.14 for lunch and $35.14 for dinner. In New York City, Restaurant Week costs $20 or $30 for dinner in 2014.