Denver Restaurant Week will return on Friday, February 21. For this sixteenth annual edition, DRW will repeat last year’s price structure — multi-course dinners for $25, $35 or $45 — as well as time span, stretching the event through Sunday, March 1. Hundreds of eateries have already signed up to offer tasty deals to Denver diners, including Bistro Vendôme, the lovely French spot tucked into Larimer Square.
But then, Bistro Vendôme hasn’t missed a year since Denver Restaurant Week started, when the rules called for a participating eatery to offer two multi-course dinners for a flat $52.80. “The price point that Bistro Vendôme operates within made a perfect match with Denver Restaurant Week in the beginning,” notes John Imbergamo, a restaurant consultant who works with Crafted Concepts, the restaurant group started by Beth Gruitch and James Beard Award-winning chef Jen Jasinski that owns Bistro Vendôme. “Two multi-course meals for $52.80 allowed BV to offer a deal without losing their chemises.” (That’s French for shirts, by the way, not English for a lacy undergarment.)
The initial deals were a little tougher to work out for two other Crafted Concepts restaurants: At the more casual Euclid Hall, it was tricky coming up with a meal that hit $26.40, while the more elegant, expensive Rioja had a tough time keeping its shirt on while offering a multi-course meal representative of its menu for the same price.
The current $25/$35/$45 option makes it easier for restaurants to determine their offerings, even if $52.80 was a lot catchier. Last year, Bistro Vendôme offered anything on the menu (appetizer or salad, entree and shared dessert) for $45. The restaurant is still deciding what this year’s deal will be.
But then, Bistro Vendôme has a new chef, Ariana Didziulis, and just made some changes to the menu. Whatever it offers during DRW, though, Bistro Vendôme is bound to be a popular spot. “They get to discover a sixteen-year-old restaurant that they hadn’t seen before,” Imbergamo points out. Or rediscover one of the restaurants that has made Larimer Square one of Denver's go-to dining destinations.
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Last year, it wasn't certain how long that would be the case; exactly a year ago, at the 2019 Saving Places convention, which focuses on historic preservation in Colorado, seats at the annual luncheon were all papered with copies of a petition urging the owners of Larimer Square not to pursue radical plans for the area, Denver's first historic district. Although there have been few changes on the block in the twelve months since, Eve, Sabine Rocho's women's boutique that's been there close to two decades, is moving out at the end of February, and while the controversial proposal for updating Larimer Square has been tabled, a new concept is still in the works.
So there's no time like the present to head to Larimer Square. If you want to see it before DRW, Bistro Vendôme has a few other special events on the schedule, including a movie night on Monday, February 3, when He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not is on the menu, along with a five-course meal for the 5:30 p.m. showing ($55, plus tax and gratuity), or a three-course meal for the 8:30 showing ($38). It's also offering a Sparkling Wine Dinner on Wednesday, February 5; call 303-825-3232 to reserve your $125 spot.
For the complete list of restaurants participating in DRW (which continues to grow as eateries opt in), go to denver.org/denver-restaurant-week.