Word of Mouth

Author wants Denver Restaurant Week diners to tap into their charitable instincts

Don't misunderstand: Lee Hayward enjoys a night out as much as the next guy -- maybe more, since he and his wife, Kathy, wrote the book Drinking and Driving in Colorado, recently re-released as the more tastefully named Tapping Colorado Craft Beer: A Guide to Centennial State Brewpubs. But looking at the crowds packing into local eateries for this seventh edition of Denver Restaurant Week got him thinking.

"It is a great event for Denverites who enjoy eating out; $52.80 for a meal for two at some of Denver's finest restaurants is a possibility for many of us," he says. "However, next time you are enjoying yourself, look outside the window for a minute and think about our neighbors to whom $52.80 might mean their whole week's grocery budget....

"So I'm issuing a challenge!" he says. "For every $52.80 you spend during Denver Restaurant Week, donate $52.80 to the Food Bank of the Rockies, Denver Urban Ministries, Meals on Wheels, or any one of the many different charities in our area that are helping our neighbors through these times. I will be doing this, and challenge everyone in Denver to enjoy Denver Restaurant Week if you can -- and double your pleasure by helping our neighbors."

Wisely, Hayward is encouraging donations from diners who're enjoying the delicious benefits, rather than from the restaurants themselves. Chefs and restaurateurs are already some of the most generous people in town, donating time, services and meals to innumerable causes. And while many of the 300 eateries participating in Denver Restaurant Week are very busy, most also see their average check drop.

DRW has had the same price point for seven years, and for a restaurant "there's no way for there to be any real money," says Rich Grant, spokesman for Visit Denver, which produces DRW. "It's a marketing promotion. When a department store has a 30 percent off sale, no one suggests it give a portion of what's left to charity."

But that doesn't mean that diners can't do what Hayward suggests: donate $52.80 to a charity for every Denver Restaurant Week deal they enjoy.

Or they can follow Grant's advice: "They should be kind to their server. And if they've got an extra $52.80, they can go out and eat again...Denver Restaurant Week supports a lot of people, and makes the city better."

Follow @CafeWestword on Twitter

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun