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Is Dallas Getting Tired of Restaurant Week?

dfw-restaurant-week-640x4801I love good deals, but whenever Central Market’s Restaurant Week hits town, I like to hide in my little cave. Too many people oot and aboot. No parking spots. My blue Honda Civic can’t handle it.

I still like checking the website to see which restaurants are participating every year. Looks like newcomers, like Belly & Trumpet, are joining in on the fun. But wait. There are a lot of empty slots available for heavy hitter restaurants, and the site’s been up since July 15. It’s been, what, 11 days since people could reserve a table for restaurant week, and yet nobody seems to really care??

Places like Fearing’sand The Mansion are full (duh), but lots of spots are open for Nick & Sam’s, Rathbun’s, Belly & Trumpet, Ser, Stephan Pyles, and a few still left for Tei-An.

What’s up with this, Dallas? I thought you liked eating out. Are you tired of restaurant week?

  • tanker a

    we’re all more poor than we care to admit..

  • Alden Crow

    Is $45 for 3 courses really that good of a deal any more?

  • RoadrunnerEats

    Leslie Brenner says restaurant week should go away

  • gourmetmommy

    I think so. We regularly go out to nice restaurants but we used to see Restaurant Week as a great chance to try new restaurants and give back to charity. But I think the restaurants are failing us. So many of them put in such little effort b/c they know they are probably losing money and so the food stinks, the service stinks and it makes for a not very enjoyable evening. I’m sure this isn’t the case for all restaurants but for many.
    We went to The French Room last year and meh….We used to go to three or four during RW and now maybe try one.We are going to Fearings this year and I’ll be interested to see how it is. Although I thought it was a little crummy they are only doing it M-W. I know you are going to lose money on this, but with their year round normal prices at high-end restaurants I seriously doubt they are losing enough to shut down the restaurant. And it’s for charity! Fearings couldn’t even finish out the week? Tisk tisk.

  • Bethie

    Most of the menus aren’t very exciting this year.

  • Beda

    Yes. As tired as I am of repetitious listings of “Best Burger,” Best Barbecue,” etc. Some original content on this and other food blogs would be refreshing.

  • Carol Shih

    We’re working on it, Beda. Creating lists and original content takes a long time + a lot of stomach space.

  • twinwillow

    I agree with Beda. Let US decide which are the “best” rather than being told by some blog editor.

  • Nancy Nichols

    TWillie,
    You are invited to have your own blog post on SideDish at any time. You can tell us the best according to you. Just drop me a line and I will make it happen.

  • runDMC

    The joke about Restaurant Week is that the biggest users never return for a full priced meal. It’s just a bunch of one time lookie loos from the burbs. So why do restaurants even bother? I avoid all participating restaurants during the “week” so my full priced dollars stay home. If you want to “help charity” then make a donation directly, that is the lamest excuse for going. RW needs to die. It’s a myth. It’s embarrassing. The emperor has no clothes.

  • marisa

    The first few years of RW, the restaurants really knocked themselves out and gave a good value. For the last few years the food and menu choices at many are not good and the attitude of the employees are worse. I am one of those people that went to four or five places during RW at the beginning. Now I go to one and that is hard to find. Last year at the French Room the whole meal was not worth the price of a glass of wine. If the restaurants can’t be willing than don’t do it……….they are creating ill will.

  • Samuel H

    I agree too. Same people at D magazine telling me what the best of everything is. At least in this day and age – it would be nice to get some new blood telling me where I should eat.

  • Nancy Nichols

    Samuel, I offer you the same opportunity to have your own post on SIdeDish. serious.

  • twinwillow

    Nancy, I’m quite flattered that you would think that highly of my posts and opinions. However, there are many others here far more eloquent than I that could do it much better than I.

    But, thank you for your offer & confidence in me.

  • RWguy

    I agree. RW doesnt make all restaurants money.
    Diners dont return for the full price menu.
    Customers are way too demanding because they rarely get to dine at a nice place and think that being a difficult patron is the way you are supossed to act.
    Servers dont make any near the amount money because the diners are too cheap to tip a decent amount for the crap they put up with and with double the volume.
    The money doesnt all go to charity. A percentage of the money goes to fill the pokets of central market and its free advertising for them as well. Its mostly about the $$ not charity. The restaurants not only have to pay back $7 of each person but I believe that they have to pay a rather large amount of money just to be a part of RW. Is that true? I am pretty sure.

  • Aaron Benson

    THE “I HAVE FAITH IN HUMANITY” ANSWER:
    People are beginning to realize the sham side of RW. For example, the fact that the promoters are lining their pockets with an unaudited money pool, and that restaurants are practically bullied into participation by promoters and blog-replyers that accuse them of being cheap or not wanting to participate in a charitable act. Interestingly enough these same restaurants, usually chef-oriented, tend to participate in several events throughout the year that raise money in a more direct, less shady fashion, and draw people who actually have money to spend and don’t mind using it for good causes. In short, maybe people are starting to see RW as an exercise in greed and selfishness hiding behind a benevolent facade.

    THE “PROBABLY TRUE” ANSWER:
    As seen here, the attitude of entitlement in many RW patrons, which has always been my least favorite part (so glad I don’t have to be a victim this year), is that a restaurant should load up with a stressful amount of covers every day, put its servers through the paces to turn tables, lose money, and bear an uncustomary load in the kitchen. And in the progress, remain smiling – beyond happily, GRATEFULLY, and turn out perfectly manicured plates of high-quality, expensive ingredients at correct temperatures and doneness. Failure to respond with unyielding graciousness and flawless execution will result in much Yelp-trashing. Maybe the long term effect of the Yelp culture is a so-entitled-restaurant-week-isn’t-good-enough attitude.

    The “WILD CARD” answer:
    Groupon.

    THE SOLUTION:
    Let it go, man. It’s a flawed concept. I feel anything that gets a person to buy something in order to make a donation to some charity is a flawed concept, because OBVIOUSLY someone besides the charity is getting the greater benefit. In this case, it’s not the guests of the restaurant and not the restaurant either. It’s the promoters.

    I have humble beginnings that don’t really account for how I’ve ended up where I am. I will spend money on these restaurants but I had to spend a lot of time in them to fully “get it” because I’m not wealthy myself. It comes down to this: you have tons of money, and eating in high-end restaurants is a humdrum, common occurrence. You are going to eat, just like normal people go to normal restaurants to eat. OR, you don’t have a lot of money, and what you’re looking for is a full-fledged EXPERIENCE. It is beyond the food, the service, the beverages, the ambience, the prestige, the facebook check-ins. It’s all of those things combined and more.

    So what you should do, I feel, is donate to a charity with some regularity, or even volunteer, rather than sneak it in somewhere you’re really treating yourself. And rather than having a budget to hit 4 restaurants in one week at $35 a person, mete those visits out. Go to a restaurant on any old week night and tell them you are there for the experience. It’s not a special occasion, it’s hopefully not Valentine’s Day or any other holiday (just as bad as RW, but OVERpriced), you are just there to soak in everything the restaurant has to offer. Let that be your attitude and you’ll be amazed at the returns (and the value).

    ….but that’s just me.

  • TLS

    I have lived here off and on for 18 years and have never participated in Restaurant Week so they’re not losing me. But maybe people have woken up to the fact that like Valentines Day, Mother’s Day, and New Years Eve, patrons will never have a true experience of said restaurant during RW. I will pay full price for a full menu when my special occasions roll around.

    Like others have commented earlier (and in years past), just put a line item on the receipt to contribute to charity during August and let the restaurants do what they do.

  • Hiccup

    Murmur. Carol, your answer in one post. Kicking the dogs that participate. Tisk tisk.

  • Jeff Oestreich

    I’m a bit tired of it. Seems like a “cheap” meal but always ends up expensive anyway.

  • jane

    Please don’t hate on the ‘burbs, not all of us are lookie loos. We came for the schools but go back for the food.

  • dallas_paul

    Because other than the dubious donation to charity, what’s in it for me, the consumer?

    I get to sit in an overly crowded place with a stressed-out staff to order from a limited prix fixe menu of discounted items that is not the normal fare (and may not be representative of the kitchen’s ordinary talent)? I want to experience a restaurant I’ve never been to and judge their food fairly, not get a cheap meal and say I’ve “been to” Chez Snooty and didn’t like it.

    I like Hiccup’s comment of a “relationship directly between the restaurant and consumer.” Give me ONE normal-menu entree featured and discounted especially for RW (and maybe a free small RW appetizer for each table), otherwise a normal menu, and then have an option for charitable collections that go directly to the charity involved instead of a RW committee. Make it about enticing consumers to come to a place they ordinarily wouldn’t, and they just might.

  • Greg Brown

    RW has allowed me to visit some restaurants that I would not normally go to, either due to price, cuisine, etc. It did help me to get out more. That said, when I got there, I found my status to be more of second-class citizen than actual paying customer. Being treated differently by the front and the back of the house does not make me want to go back to those places. And in reality, I have not been back to any RW place I visited. RW certainly had a useful purpose when it started, but our dining scene has exploded since that time. The vast majority of fine dining places are far more accessible to the average customer than they were in the past. The blog scene can help you decide if a place is worth your time and money. I believe it is time to let the sun set on RW as it is configured now.

  • Greg Brown

    RW has allowed me to visit some restaurants that I would not normally go to, either due to price, cuisine, etc. It did help me to get out more. That said, when I got there, I found my status to be more of second-class citizen than actual paying customer. Being treated differently by the front and the back of the house does not make me want to go back to those places. And in reality, I have not been back to any RW place I visited. RW certainly had a useful purpose when it started, but our dining scene has exploded since that time. The vast majority of fine dining places are far more accessible to the average customer than they were in the past. The blog scene can help you decide if a place is worth your time and money. I believe it is time to let the sun set on RW as it is configured now.

  • Ken Topham

    Despite what the media says the recession still lingers on and people aren’t as eager as they once were with their discretionary spending. Like another responder said is $45.00 really a good deal anymore? Many restaurants today have everyday prices that are significantly lower than they once were, “date night” specials, etc. This promotion was once a big draw, and might be again if the economy ever gets running smoothly and freely again.

  • gmit

    So when did it begin ? Just wondering when your good experiences were, I had some but not sure if it was because it was really good or I just didnt know better

  • J40

    We stopped going several years ago. The limited menu often consisting of a lame chicken dish, tiny filet, or farm raised salmon had gotten pretty predictable at many places. Combine that with big crowds and waiters wanting to flip the tables quickly, it just wasn’t worth it.

  • Tired of RW

    Yes, we are tired of Restaurant Week. I love to go to these restaurants all year long, but Restaurant Week used to provide a festive opportunity to get my less adventurous friends to go out with me at a fixed price and for a good cause. We’ve found some of our favorite restaurants that we’d return to as often as possible in the process. After the last few years of being embarrassed by the poor to downright offending service or horrible food substituted, I haven’t made any reservations yet this year. I did check out the list, but am more likely to try out the new restaurants on the list before Restaurant Week starts. I fully believe the scorn dished out during Restaurant Week has been a contributor to the demise of several of these formerly fabulous restaurants. It’s understandable why both the restaurants and the diners are less interested.

  • Tim Anti-Brenner

    Leslie Brenner is a Hack! She gives bad reviews for great restaurants and great reviews for average at best restaurants. She has no clue what makes a great meal or great service. Restaurant week is an excuse for people outside of a restaurants demographic to try a dinner they would otherwise not waste hard earned money on. Also there’s the charity thing. Packing her favorite places with rookie diners doesn’t allow her wide backside enough comfort space to consume a thousand calories that she will review as crap. She gets one star for not dropping dead of heart disease.