Downtown Dining Week: Paul’s Picks

Downtown Dining Week is next week, from Monday, November 11 to Sunday, November 17. This is a week when many of Downtown’s restaurants offer incredible value, with lunches for $10.19 and multiple-course dinners for $20.19. This is a fantastic chance to try some restaurants you haven’t in the past, and see what they have to offer. For the restaurants, it’s a chance to win people over and expand their base of customers who keep coming back the other 51 weeks of the year.

Every year I like to go through all the menus (at least, for the restaurants that have bothered to upload menus) and offer you my picks as to which are offering something interesting, something special, something yummy – which are going the extra mile to impress new customers. I also try to make a note of which restaurants have vegetarian-friendly options for DDW.

Before I start, I want to make a comment that the DDW website is SUPER ANNOYING. To get to the restaurants last in alphabetical order (Tug’s and Westy’s), I have to click a LOAD MORE LOCATIONS button six times. That’s just bad web design, and it’s unfair to the restaurants far down the list. Just load all the locations at once – heck, practically everyone has a high-speed connections and plenty of data usage these days.

I would bet you anything that the person who thought that LOAD MORE LOCATIONS button was a good idea is not a web designer, but a marketing person.

Okay, enough complaining. Let’s get on with the deliciousness!

117 Prime – Braised brisket! Anytime you can eat there for 20 bucks and some change, it’s an incredible deal. This place will fill up, so make reservations as early as possible.

Automatic Slim’s – Multiple choices for the first two courses. They clearly put a good bit of thought and creativity into this menu.

Bardog Tavern – Because the third dinner course is from local bakery Two Girls and a Whip.

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous – They have a vegetarian sampler platter as an option for both lunch and dinner.

Evelyn & Olive – Plenty of choices for each course including vegetarian/vegan options.

Felicia Suzanne Restaurant – Felicia really gets into Downtown Dining Week and has a lot of creativity on her menu. May I recommend the Sunday Sugo? There’s a vegetarian option too. If you plan on going, make your reservation IMMEDIATELY. Will fill up for sure.

Grecian Gourmet – Options for each course, including vegetarian. That Greek lasagna on the main course list sounds particularly yummy.

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick – Absolutely my number one, must-visit recommendation. Three courses for lunch for $10.19 or four courses for dinner for $20.19. Lots of options for each course including vegetarian-friendly. Make reservations IMMEDIATELY if you plan to go.

Sabor Caribe – Get the Venezuelan Travel Plate. Reservations required.

Spindini – Pollo Parmigiana sounds good. They also have Pasta Primavera as a vegetarian option.

Terrace at the River Inn – Crabmeat stuffed flounder!

The Majestic Grille – Menu hasn’t been posted as of this time, but this is a place I can wholeheartedly recommend menu unseen. Patrick and Deni are supporters of Downtown Dining Week and I know they will put their best foot forward. I wouldn’t dawdle getting reservations if you plan to go.

Tug’s – 6 ounce prime sirloin, a piece of key lime pie, and whichever appetizer fits your fancy sounds like a winner to me.

That’s my 2019 list. And now… longtime readers know what’s coming. During Downtown Dining Week, don’t be that guy/gal who

  • Can’t decide which of three restaurants they want to visit on a particular night, so they make reservations for the same time at all three and then no-show two of them. This isn’t fair to the restaurants or your fellow diners.
  • Runs the server around, asking for substitutions, extra this, leave off that, etc. Be cognizant of the fact that your server experiences unusually high volume during DDW, and try to get every request for your table in at once.
  • Tips less than 20%. We all have calculators on our phones; there’s no excuse for not being able to compute a proper tip anymore. Although dinner is $20.19, some of these restaurants are clearly offering $27, $28 of value or more. I like to tip on the full-value amount. You don’t have to agree, but if you don’t tip at least $2 on a $10.19 lunch or $4 on a $20.19 dinner, you’re being  a cheapskate.

I hope you take advantage of Downtown Dining Week and discover some new favorite restaurants. Back tomorrow with more news.