2021 Restaurant Week will ‘satisfy a mountain of appetites’
The theme of this year’s Restaurant Week is “Satisfying a Mountain of Appetites,” as local restaurants offer select menus and specials for the duration of the week, which begins Friday and ends Oct. 2.
More than 20 restaurants will participate in the sixth annual event, a week that Main Street Steamboat Springs Executive Director Lisa Popovich said is gaining traction.
“I start getting phone calls in July from people trying to plan their fall trips around Restaurant Week,” she said. “While the first few years of the event were largely local, it’s spread through word of mouth, and now, we see a lot of people from out of town enjoying the week as well.”
Occurring during the same week each year — at the tail end of a busy summer season — Restaurant Week was designed to build up for the shoulder season going into the fall. And Popovich said this year, it’s more important than ever to support Steamboat’s restaurants.
“The struggle is real,” she said. “Lots of restaurants can’t be open for more than five days a week because they are short staffed, which really comes down to restaurant workers not being able to find housing. As you walk around downtown, you might notice that some of your favorite lunch places might not be open every day.”
And while the restaurant industry was hit hard by COVID-19 in 2020, they are still struggling with different issues, such as supply chain problems.
“Costs have gone up so much, and restaurants are trying hard not to raise their prices,” Popovich explained. “Even if you see a lot of people in a restaurant, they aren’t making any money. They’re short staffed and not able to serve as many people. This year, we want to make sure that we’re showing them some love and support for the waitstaff and the kitchen staff.”
Popovich also noted that due to supply chain issues, it was almost impossible for any given restaurant to provide a special menu that they could sustain throughout the entirety of Restaurant Week. Instead, specials may change daily.
“Like always, there will still be a special value, but it’s not as straightforward as in years past,” Popovich said.
What: Steamboat Springs 6th annual Restaurant Week
When: Friday, Sept. 24 to Saturday, Oct. 2
Where: For a list of participating restaurants, visit MainStreetSteamboat.com
Johnny B. Good’s Diner is one local restaurant that participates each year.
“I think it’s a great way to encourage people to come downtown and eat or order carry-out at a time when town is not so crazy with tourism,” said owner Kathy Diemer.
This year, the restaurant will offer simple specials that can remain low priced. They are adding a ‘“family football meal” for Monday night football fans, which is a charcuterie-style Cobb salad with a twist — chopped chicken tenders, smoked bacon, fresh avocado and all the fixings laid out along with a waffle.
“It gives that fried chicken and waffle flair to a Cobb salad,” Diemer said. “Restaurant Week is a lot of fun, so I hope people take advantage of all the specials around town.”
Dave Eliason, who has three participating restaurants — Back Door Grill, How Ya Doin’ Pizza and Eatz and O’Neil’s Tavern and Grill — said his goal is to attract new customers.
“We want to get people in who haven’t visited us before,” he said. “We’re showcasing our most popular items and the ones that we’re known for and also putting together a great deal for the public as well.”
Eliason said local support keeps his doors open year-round.
“During the off season, it’s really important for us to have business so that we can keep our employees working and keep our doors open,” he said. “Ultimately, the support from the local community helps us do that.”
Typically, the week is the restaurant’s way of thanking the community, Popovich said, but this year, it will be the other way around.
“One of the reasons we all live in Steamboat is for the variety of things we can do here, and that includes access to great places to shop and eat,” she said. “Restaurants are getting squeezed from every direction right now. If we can show them the love by being patient and understanding, that will make a difference.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. She can be reached through the editor.
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