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Monday, February 1, 2010

Restaurant Weeks Show Off a City's Options

Restaurant Week is a beautiful thing. If you’re fortunate enough to live in or visit a city during Restaurant Week, you are in luck. New York’s Winter Restaurant Week is in full swing. It will run through Feb. 7 (some restaurants will extend the offer through Feb. 28.) Participating restaurants – and there’s a lot of them (go to for a listing) – offer prix-fixe, three-course menus for $24.07 and $35.

I love the concept of Restaurant Week, even though it’s something I have only participated in twice (New York’s summer event last year and the debut event in Memphis in the fall). I’m not sure how many cities have restaurant weeks, but the idea of finer restaurants presenting a sampling of their respective menus at more affordable prices is a great idea. It’s a win-win: Diners experience restaurants their budget might not typically allow and restaurants gain new customers.

Washington, Philadelphia and San Diego all wrapped up Restaurant Week last month. Baltimore’s runs Jan. 22 through Feb. 7, offering three-course menus for $35.10 at nearly 100 restaurants ( Los Angeles is offering its Restaurant Week through Feb. 5  ( There are three price plans for lunch and dinner ranging from $16 to $44. Restaurant Week Boston runs March 14-19 and 21-26 (

And the restaurants of Downtown Memphis participated in the city’s first restaurant week in early November. Not sure how much more business the restaurants generated, but I discovered new restaurants because of the promotion. That’s the whole point really; that and an opportunity to get an exceptional meal at a decent price.

In Memphis, the price was $20.09 for three courses. No, the entrees weren’t always the same size of the normal portions served. But I did not leave hungry and the many reviews I read on other blogs and on Twitter all agreed on that fact.

NYC Restaurant Week was the country’s first such celebration, debuting in 1992 to coincide with the Democratic National Convention held there. The cost for three courses was $19.92 then. It’s gone up slightly to $24.07 and been extended to two weeks.

Great food at good prices. Sounds like a good concept to me. 

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