Announcement: We have a winner of our Denver Restaurant Week contest. The correct number of restaurants that participated in the first Denver Restaurant Week in 2005 is 89 restaurants, the number of which comes directly from Visit Denver, the organization that sponsors the event. The person who come the closest without going over is banannarama, who guessed 88.
A few weeks ago, the VISIT DENVER website posted the list of more than 300 local restaurants participating in Denver Restaurant Week(s) -- a full fourteen nights of gluttony, wherein diners can take advantage of multi-course dinners for the mile-high price tag of $52.80 for two, or $26.40 if you're dining solo, excluding tax and gratuity.
Always a brilliant excuse to completely abandon -- at least temporarily -- our New Year's resolution diet plans, Denver Restaurant Week(s) is a frenzied fortnight of snatching up elusive reservations at some of the top restaurants in the city, which in the past have included restaurants like Mizuna, Vesta Dipping Grill, Elway's, ChoLon, TAG, Rioja, Cafe Brazil, Il Posto and Panzano. In 2012, nearly 350 restaurants partook in the two-week culinary bonanza, making it the largest restaurant week in the nation.
"It's a great way to check out some new restaurants, explore a new neighborhood and go out for an inexpensive dinner," says Deborah Park, associate communications director of VISIT DENVER, the owner and organizer of the event, now in its ninth year. And while reservations are booked faster than the speed of lightning, Park has some advice: "Book reservations during the second week of Denver Restaurant Week, because people make multiple reservations right off the bat and often cancel them during the second week." Restaurateurs, she adds, have revealed that there are significant drops in reservations during week two.
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And for the love of chefs, hosts, restaurateurs and foodniks everywhere, please cancel your reservation should you decide to make other plans. "One of the most frustrating things about the event is when people make a reservation and don't show up, denying other diners that time slot. Don't be a no-show, Please notify the restaurant if your plans change so they can fill that table," encourages Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER.
Seriously, people, be courteous.
Now, on to the show. In honor of Denver Restaurant Week(s), we're giving one Cafe Society commenter the opportunity to win a $100 dinner (!!!!!!) at Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar, Robert Thompson's buzzy French restaurant downtown -- and a participant in Denver Restaurant Week(s).
Want to emerge victorious? Here's what we want to know: How many restaurants participated in Denver Restaurant Week in its very first year? The person who comes the closest to the actual number without going over will win the gift card. Please submit your guesses in the comments section below, and be sure to leave a valid e-mail address so we can get in touch with you if you win.