New version encourages to-go/delivery, but broadens safe dine-in options as COVID restrictions linger.
With pandemic safety restrictions still in place for dining out, Denver Restaurant Week will shift to April 23-May 2 in hopes that warmer temperatures will allow local restaurants to maximize patio-friendly outdoor seating. The annual restaurant showcase was originally created to inspire locals to explore Denver’s culinary offerings during slower winter months.
While dining capacity has already been expanded under current “Level Yellow” restrictions, a significant new element to the spring timeframe will be the option for diners to select eateries participating in the recently launched Denver Five Star Certification Program, which loosens capacity restrictions for restaurants that exceed mandated COVID safety standards. The move comes at a time when restaurant business continues to lag from social distancing guidelines that limit seating.
“Above anything else, we want to ensure we are focusing on advocacy for our restaurant partners, while keeping the health and safety of the community top of mind,” said Richard W. Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER. “We have an excellent culinary scene that is having a tough time right now through no fault of its own, so we wanted to build a new spring program that still offers as many to-go options as ever while increasing access to safe dine-in options as well.”
As always, Denver Restaurant Week will feature specially priced menus from many of the finest restaurants across the metro area. Participating restaurants will create a multi-course dinner based on one of the three available price points – $25, $35 or $45.
Restaurants can register to participate beginning on Tuesday, March 2 at DenverRestaurantWeek.com. Participating restaurants and menus will be announced to the public in on March 31 so eager diners can make reservations or plan their takeout orders early.
“We have done this for 17 consecutive years, but it has never meant more to the restaurants and to the community than it does this year,” said Scharf. “Our nationally recognized and award winning culinary scene is a huge part of Denver’s brand and destination appeal and these restaurants, as well as their hard working staffs, need our support more than ever.”
Many chefs and restaurateurs have been forced to develop creative offerings to remain in business during the pandemic. Some have added takeout options on food and alcohol while others have expanded patios to increase their dine-in capacity.
From the onset of the pandemic, VISIT DENVER has stepped up to assist the local culinary scene. When COVID forced the city to shut down last year, it developed several online resources including ToGoDenver.com, which generated support for more than 900 struggling local restaurants. And last November, VISIT DENVER launched its first-ever fall Denver Restaurant Week helping to drive business to hundreds of local eateries offering COVID-safe dine-in, take-out and delivery options.
“We are thrilled to participate again in Denver Restaurant Week,” said Marla Yetka, Co-Founder of Bigsby’s Folly Winery & Restaurant. “The previous programs proved to be some of our most successful weeks ever, with record sales, great margins and introductions to new patrons that have transformed into repeat guests.”
VISIT DENVER’s Denver Restaurant Week is sponsored by Society Insurance, Open Table and E&J Gallo Winery featuring Barefoot Cellars, Fleur de Mer, J Vineyards, Louis M. Martini, Whitehaven, and William Hill Estate. Media sponsors include Westword, 5280 Magazine and CBS4.