By Steven Bonifazi
(DENVER, Colo.) The largest culinary event in the state, Denver Restaurant Week, has returned for the 17th year from April 23 to May 2 to offer an expansive variety of multi-course dinners from over 200 participating restaurants.
The annual week is traditionally held in February, but this year it is being held in spring. All of the more than 200 participating restaurants are offering patrons multi-course meals ranging in price from either $25, $35 or $45.
Denver Restaurant Week was created in 2004 with the hopes of inspiring locals to get out and discover the great eats the city has to offer during months where business is slower such as those in winter. This year's event will work to make way for restaurants struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and make use of extra seating capacity through outdoor patio dining.
Restaurants like upscale seafood chain JAX Fish House & Oyster Bar have already seen the difference the nine-day event has made since starting Friday.
"It's been great, especially for downtown Denver where we've seen such a reduction in foot traffic, from no baseball last year to offices that have been limited due to COVID-19, that was a lot of our business, so this helps a lot," said Adam Reed, director of operations at all six of JAXs' locations, including two locations in Denver, LoDo and Glendale. "I don't know that restaurant week diners see it this way, but they're supporting their community by creating income for hospitality professionals."
According to 9News, the first-ever fall Denver Restaurant Week was held in November of last year by Visit Denver in an attempt to aid businesses in thriving during the COVID-19 pandemic. This spring, Denver Restaurant Week is coming off the heels of Denver lifting capacity restrictions for restaurants in the city, now being able to operate at 100% capacity with a maintained social distancing of six feet.
“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 Richard W. Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver. “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.”
Visit Denver, a private nonprofit trade association, has partnered with Project Angel Heart, a local nonprofit and Dining Out for Life event, to provide diners participating in Denver Restaurant Week an opportunity to make contributions toward medically tailored meals for residents of Coloradans that are suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
For more information regarding Denver Restaurant Week, including a list of the 205 participating restaurants, visit https://www.denver.org/denver-restaurant-week/menus/list-view/.