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Local Life

Denver Restaurant Week spotlights growing dining scene

More than 200 eateries participating

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The Denver metro area has been growing at an unparalleled rate over the last few years, and all those new people have a few things in common — one of those things is, they’ve all got to eat.

There’s an ever-expanding list of new, exciting restaurants to check out in the metro area (about 240 opened in 2017), and that’s in addition to an already deep bench of top-notch restaurants that longtime residents know about. Zagat recently awarded Denver the number 4 spot on its “Most Exciting Food Cities”

As a way to both connect people with restaurants they’ve never tried before and spread the word about the depth and variety of the dining scene, Visit Denver created Denver Restaurant Week 14 years ago. And it’s become one of the most anticipated weeks of the year.

“Both diners and restaurants really gear up for this week,” said Justin Bresler, vice president of Visit Denver’s marketing department. “I love seeing how excited people are about trying restaurants they love, and places they’ve never visited before.”

This year’s Denver Restaurant Week is from Feb. 23 through March 4, and features more than 220 restaurants offering multi-course meals at one of three different price points — $25, $35 or $45.

“It’s up to each restaurant to decide what price point they want to offer,” Bresler explained. “We encourage people to try different price points, because it’s going to be a different experience at each one.”

For restaurants that are participating, the week is an opportunity to showcase signature dishes and specialties.

“During Restaurant Week, we like to put our best culinary foot forward,” said Marvin Williams, general manager of Wheat Ridge’s Abrusci’s Fire and Wine Italian restaurant, which is offering meals at the $35 price point. “We’re serving dishes we’re famous for, like our rigatoni and sausage, and less well-known items like our beef short ribs.”

According to information provided by Bresler, the tiered structure allows more flexibility for both the diners and the restaurants — both in food options and financial value.

“When putting together our menu, we not only consider what’s popular, but what’s the best value for our diners,” said Tim Carlson, general manager of the Village Tavern, located in Broomfield’s Flatiron Crossing Mall. The Village Tavern is offering meals at the $35 price point. “We love being part of the community, and it’s a great chance to showcase not only our food, but the atmosphere of the Tavern.”

People looking for new restaurant recommendations can follow the Top Chef Trail, which features restaurants or chefs that have been featured on “Top Chef: Colorado,” like Tony Guard, Frank Bonanno and Gregory Gourdet.

But while Denver Restaurant Week is a chance to explore, many also use it to celebrate their favorite eateries.

“We’ve been here for more than 30 years, and we’ve seen Denver Restaurant Week become busier and busier as more restaurants start participating,” said Summer Cassidy, manager and server at Cherry Crest Seafood Restaurant and Market in Greenwood Village, which is offering meals at the $25 price point. “It’s been a great experience to be a part of.”

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