The Downtown Restaurant Week Question

stlbites fistOn my forum, frankiefau–who we’ll assume works for the company that puts on Downtown Restaurant Week because he’s asked a similar questions before writes:

For good or not, Downtown Restaurant Week returns Aug 22-28.  I have posted both Clayton and Downtown Restaurant Weeks on here before.  This time, i would like to hear what you guys think of the concept.  A value, a benefit, good menus or just go away and quit posting here?

This year, I’ll bite…

The idea–getting people to go out and try new spots in the city they might not normally frequent–is great.  The problem lies in the fact that most of the restaurants that participate, in the central downtown area, don’t deliver at any price.  An American Place was, literally, the only restaurant that has ever participated that many had any interest in dining at in the past.

Throw in the blatant marketing behind these events with brands like, Stella, Terrazas, and Pearl Vodka, and it’s a pass for most people that are truly food enthusiasts rather than “foodies” waiting for the next Guy Fieri show to debut.

Speaking for myself, the one restaurant I have some interest in dining at on this years list is Prime 1000.  But then you look at the menu and it’s not representative of why you’d want to go to Prime 1000 for real: steak.

Think about that.  They’re a steakhouse that has pork belly, chicken and shrimp as the entree choices.

So the reality is that most of these restaurants simply approach these nights as another day of doing business with a menu that should cost $25 vs a promotion that gets butts in seats–at a discount–in hopes that they might return at full price another time.  It’s like that time Arthur Clay’s showed up at Taste of St. Louis serving pork steaks.  That was a money grab if ever I saw one, and I loved that restaurant.

4 Responses to “The Downtown Restaurant Week Question”

  1. Amy Burdge Says:

    Great question!

    Overall, if Restaurant Week can bring new people in — and it doesn’t bankrupt the joint in the process — then no harm no foul.

    But just like going out to dinner on New Year’s Eve, the patron should be aware that he or she may not get the restaurant’s best showing. It’s just a teaser to the potential.

    Personally, however, every week is restaurant week for me. I’ll be dining around regardless of promoted incentives.

  2. George Mahe Says:

    Coincidentally, Prime’s mgr told me just last week that he’s frustrated b/c he can’t offer any kind of representative steak (as part of a three-course meal)for a week-long event without losing his a**. So his plan is to offer what he can, and play up the steaks Prime offers, hoping to sway a DRW diner or at least lure him back for another visit.

    I suggested upcharging for a steak(as others have done), knowing he might only get one shot at these folks.

  3. Bill Burge Says:


    From speaking with Josh Galliano, I think An American Place did lose a little money on the event in hopes that they’d get the people back. The menus John Griffiths and Galliano offered were legit representations of what you’d get in that restaurant. They did do a couple of up-charges, but mostly they just wanted people to see what the restaurant was about and threw food cost out the window for the week.

  4. Frankiefaun Says:

    Yes, I am one of organizers of this event and yes, this is the type of banter i was looking for. Coming from true culinary aficionados and foodies, I wanted to get real perspectives and input in the hopes that not only we can use this constructive input to help shape future events, but also have restaurant chefs and GMs see these opinions to help them make DRW the best it can be for them and patrons. At the end of the day all we are really trying to do is give restaurants the ability to get some new ‘butts in seats’ as well as continue to expose and build on an exception culinary base i think St. Louis overall has. I think we all realize there are still a lot of St. Louisans in the dark about the quality of food and creativity some of our restaurants have … restaurants that are not in the “Valley” or Chang’s, Maggianos, etc.

    One thing to keep in mind, this is both a public and civic event … meaning working with the Downtown St Louis Partnership on this event allows us to work with venues and businesses within their operating area which unfortunately excludes venues like Franco, 1111, Vin De Set, Triumph, etc.

    Keep those opinions coming. We love to hear them.

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