6 Things We Dig (and Don’t) About Restaurant Week

By Farah Fleurima  |  January 31, 2014

This week, the dates were announced for DFW Restaurant Week, and we’ve now got August 11-17 cordoned off on our calendar. Well, most of the month, really; when you figure in the multitudes of eateries that host early Restaurant Week and those that extend it past the 17th, you may as well scribble “DFWRW” over the entirety of August.

As always, the event is a fundraiser in which restaurants offer multi-course meals for $35 (a few for $45) and share proceeds with the North Texas Food Bank and the Lena Pope Home. Last year more than 125 restaurants took part, raising more than $750,000 for the nonprofits. As we sit tight to learn which restaurants will be participating in the 17th annual event, let’s ponder what we love (and love less) about the popular week.

Love: The Chance to Dine at Restaurants We Otherwise Couldn’t Afford
This, of course, is everyone’s number one reason for loving Restaurant Week - we’re all able to take a taste of prime dining at Stephan Pyles, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and Reata for a steal. If you’re fleet-fingered enough, you can snag reservations at The French Room, Abacus and Fearing’s, which are among the restaurants whose reservations get snapped up pretty much the first day they are released.

Love: The Chance to Try Stalwarts We’ve Never Been To
In addition to trying to squeeze into the hot spots, we use Restaurant Week to explore those dining destinations that’ve been popular and around for a while but that we’ve inexplicably never visited. In the past, we’ve discovered Local in Deep Ellum, thoroughly enjoyed Lawry’s The Prime Rib and reveled at Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill for a song. The reservations might be easier to get, but the experiences have been just as unforgettable as the buzzy newcomers.

Love: Central Market’s Fourth Course
The upscale grocery mini-chain offers vouchers good for an extra course at selected restaurants; shoppers get one for every $25 they spend in the store. It’s brilliant and makes total sense that the foodie grocery destination collaborates in such a delicious way with the popular dining event.

Love Less: Bad Diners
Servers who work in some of the upscale restaurants that participate in DFWRW have nicknamed it “amateur week,” for the poor tips they receive and the behavior displayed by some guests who clearly don’t dine out very often. Plus, the extra crowds that Restaurant Week brings in surely wears them out. To diners, we say: tip generously and based on what the bill would’ve been on any other non-RW night.

Love Less: Occasionally Indifferent Service
On the other side of the coin, diners have banged the gong in recent years about waitstaff who seem rushed and indifferent to tables that are participating in Restaurant Week. For servers/managers, we say: presume diners are out for Restaurant Week as a special treat. These deals can be an exceptional occasion to folks who aren’t able to swing a once-a-week dinner out.