February 20, 2013 in Food

Spokane Restaurant Week begins Friday and runs through March 3

By The Spokesman-Review
 
File photos photo

Spokane Restaurant Week offers a terrific opportunity to check out the view – and menu – at Anthony’s Restaurant.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

At a glance

What: Participating Spokane restaurants offering a fixed-price menu for either $18 or $28

When: Friday through March 3

Details: A complete list of participating restaurants and the menus offered for Spokane Restaurant Week are online at www.restaurantweekspokane.com.

Reservations: Reservations for some participating restaurants can be made on the Spokane Restaurant Week website. Otherwise, contact the restaurant directly. Some restaurants do not take reservations.

Gluten-free dining: Need recommendations for gluten-free menus during Spokane Restaurant Week? Find recommendations from Gluten-Free Spokane at www.glutenfreespokane.com/

spokane-restaurant-week-gluten-free/.

Vegan and vegetarian dining: Restaurants offering vegan or vegetarian options have noted it on the online menus.

Visit Spokane

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the event and answers from Visit Spokane:

What is a prix fixe menu?

A prix fixe menu is simply a menu of pre-determined items presented as a multi-course meal (typically an appetizer, entree and dessert) at a set price. Diners can choose among several options of each course.

Do I need to make reservations?

Reservations are strongly recommended by Visit Spokane. Reservations can be made at each individual restaurant and at some restaurants through www.opentable.com. Some participating restaurants don’t offer reservations.

How much will it cost to dine out during Restaurant Week?

Restaurants have a choice to develop a multi-course menu at either $18 per person or $28 per person. Restaurants will not offer both pricing options.

What if only some people in my group are interested in the restaurant week menu?

All participating restaurants will have a regular menu available and diners are welcome to order from that menu instead.

Are there any additional costs I should be aware of when dining out during Restaurant Week?

Beverages, tax and gratuity are not included in the special menu pricing, unless otherwise noted. Look at the individual menus on the Spokane Restaurant Week website for details.

Cheryl Kilday moved to Spokane about two and half years ago and, like any new resident, she began asking the people she met about great local restaurants. It surprised her when a few told her there weren’t any culinary gems in Spokane.

Now, as the president and chief executive officer of Visit Spokane, she can tick off a list of some of her favorite places – Wild Sage, Scratch, Spencer’s and Churchill’s, to name a few – and she hopes a new event that starts this week will help reverse any perception of Spokane as a city of questionable culinary talent. Spokane Restaurant Week starts Friday and will run through March 3.

“Our hope is that we can get people thinking differently about our restaurants,” Kilday said. “We need to improve the image of our restaurants within our community. … That way, if you’re downtown and someone walks up and asks where to eat, we don’t tell them there are no great places.”

Visit Spokane teamed with the Inlander weekly newspaper to organize the 10-day run of special menus and prices at restaurants around Spokane. Sterling Bank and URM Food Service are sponsors. Kilday said they hoped they would be able recruit 40 restaurants to participate this year and ended up with 53.

“It’s been a couple of years in the making and we’re really excited because we do expect it to become an annual event,” Kilday said. “There are communities like ours that have more than one per year.”

Participating restaurants will be offering special prix fixe (fixed-price) menus during Spokane Restaurant Week. The three-course menus are either $18 or $28 depending on the restaurant. The menus are posted on the Spokane Restaurant Week website at www.restaurantweekspokane.com, but diners can also order from the regular menu.

Kilday said they settled on February for the event because it can be a slow time for restaurants and a difficult time to draw out-of-town visitors. It also dovetails with Visit Spokane’s winter campaign centering on a recent finding that some travelers come to Spokane for a couple’s getaway, Kilday said. Also, tourism research from the past couple of years indicates culinary opportunities are now among the top three factors when people decide where to travel and stay, she added.

For local food lovers, Spokane Restaurant Week will be a great way to try a new restaurant or eat at a new restaurant without worrying about the tab.

“For people who have always wanted to go to someplace like Churchill’s, to be able to go there for $28 per person for a three-course meal makes it … approachable and they are going to be able to go and be really excited about it,” Kilday said. “For people who have their five favorite places, it’s an encouragement to go someplace that they haven’t tried yet. We all get in a rut.”

But the Spokane Restaurant Week is not just about discounting, Kilday said. They encouraged restaurants to think of it as a chance to introduce themselves to diners – a little like a first date.

Some regional wineries, breweries and Dry Fly Distillery are participating in a campaign to highlight local drinking options during Spokane Restaurant Week. Watch for specials from those wine, beer and spirits makers around town. Details are on the Spokane Restaurant Week website under the “Drink Local” tab.

A complete list of restaurants participating in Spokane Restaurant Week and the menus are online at www.restaurantweekspokane.com.

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