Some 158,340 diners participated in Denver Restaurant Week (DRW) 2008, up 32.8 percent over the 119,200 who dined out during the event last year.
Denver Restaurant Week 2008, held Feb. 23-29, was organized by the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and saw a record 174 restaurants participate, offering a multi-course meal for the “mile high” fixed price of $52.80 for two.
“The purpose of Denver Restaurant Week is to get Denver residents to try new restaurants and then talk about them with friends and neighbors,” states Bureau president & CEO Richard Scharf. “We know from national studies that Denver has only an average image as a city that offers fine dining. We thought the best way to improve that image is to get locals to dine out, experiment, try new restaurants and then talk to friends and co-workers about just how much Denver has to offer as a culinary destination,” Scharf said. “Ultimately, we hope to elevate the status of chefs in the city to that of sports figures.”
Restaurant Week 2008 created a new level of interest in dining out. Visits to the Denver Restaurant Week Web site soared 47 percent in 2008 over 2007 with a record 235,618 visitors going online to view 4.6 million pages of menus. The average visitor spent 11 minutes on the DRW site, looking at 19 menus.
The campaign seems to be working. In the 2007 survey of America’s Favorite Cities conducted by Travel + Leisure Magazine, Denver ranked 17th out of the top 25 cities for dining, up from 23rd four years ago. Denver residents also ranked Denver 17th, up from 24th four years ago.
The celebration of Denver dining was originally organized in 2005 by the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors and the Denver Newspaper Agency to increase awareness of how much the dining scene in Denver has improved. In just four years, it has grown into one of the largest culinary events in the nation.
Denver Restaurant Week started in 2005 with 84 restaurants, grew to 120 in 2006, had 149 participating in 2007 and set a new record in 2008 with 174 restaurants.
Some other results of Denver Restaurant Week 2008:
- 88 percent of the restaurants rated the event very good or excellent.
- 72 percent of the restaurants reported a significant increase in restaurant sales versus the same week the previous year.
- 70 percent of the restaurants had a record breaking night and 45% sold out at least one night. Many of the restaurants were sold out all seven nights.
- One restaurant reported doing more than 4,000 total Denver Restaurant Week special meals. The average was 910 meals per restaurant for the entire week.
- The top restaurant menus viewed were: Del Friscos: 27,174 visits; Elway’s Cherry Creek: 25,775; The Fort: 22,347; Elway’s Downtown: 21,732; Barolo Grill: 20,752; Vesta Dipping Grill: 20,282; Briarwood Inn: 20,222; 1515 Restaurant: 20,143: 9th Door: 19,924; Denver Chophouse: 19,375.
Denver Restaurant Week was sponsored by the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Denver Newspaper Agency. Participating sponsors included 5280 Magazine, KUSA Four O’Clock News, RSVP, the Mile High Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association and the Downtown Denver Partnership.