‘Look at what they’re doing’: Businesses get creative for Restaurant Week
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Restaurant Week is here, and it’s more important than ever.
Created by Main Street Steamboat Springs, Restaurant Week allows restaurants to get creative and offer deals and specials to locals and foodies alike, helping narrow the gap between the summer and winter seasons. Restaurant Week runs Friday through Oct. 4.
After a summer plagued by travel restrictions and seating limitations due to COVID-19, restaurants are hopeful for a strong winter, but first, need to get through the autumn shoulder season first.
“Restaurant Week is always important, because it happens during a time of the year when there are less people here,” said Main Street Steamboat Executive Director Lisa Popovich.
Yes, restaurants need help, especially as outdoor seating wanes, further limiting how many customers a place can serve, but Nick Sharp, president of Steamboat’s chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association and director of operations at Rex’s Family of Restaurants, doesn’t want that to be the narrative.
At least, not solely.
“The messaging needs to kind of pivot to what products have been created, what opportunities have been created by COVID-19,” Sharp said. “I want the community to say, ‘Look at what they’re doing.’ We’re proud of our business operators. We’re proud of the people who work in our restaurants, because they’re not just sitting back waiting for handouts, they’re changing their business model.”
All summer, restaurants have been adapting to the limitations and regulations imposed by local and state public health order. Restaurant Week is just another chance for them to show creativity and flexibility.
As a means to serve more people and cater to those who may not be comfortable going out, many establishments are creating to-go deals. Others create special courses, chef’s choice meals or featured items to allow people to try many things all at once.
This year, Restaurant Week is partnering with Dine Out to Help Out, an initiative originally created by the Colorado Restaurant Association and Foundation. Donations to the fund will go back into the pockets of the participating restaurants, although it hasn’t been decided how the money will be spent. That will depend on how much money is raised.
“If it’s ample, it’ll benefit the restaurant business if we can,” Sharp said. “Even if it’s a smaller amount of donations, what we’ll likely do, is make a contribution to LiftUp or to one of the community support systems that already exist, so there’s a little more amplitude in those systems going into the fall.”
If the amount raised is large enough to spread across the restaurants, the local association will think of a way to spend it. One of Popovich’s guesses for a useful way to spend it would be on propane, as some facilities are hoping to continue outdoor seating into the colder months.
“We’ve fared pretty well this summer with all the additional outdoor dining we had,” she said. “Once we’re not able to do that, our restaurants get even more pinched. Everybody wants to know how they can help. This is a really simple way for them to help.”
Every participating restaurant will have a scannable QR code on hand that will bring guests to a website where they can donate to the fund.
Family favorites like Moe’s BBQ and Johnny B Good’s Diner to high-end dining like Aurum and Cafe Diva are all taking part in Restaurant Week.
“It’s fun for our teams, and it’s fun for our guests to do something unique,” Sharp said. “Especially at the end of a long season.”
For a full list of participating restaurants, 38 in all, plus more information about special meals and deals, visit https://www.mainstreetsteamboat.com/blog/restaurant-week-2020-dine-in-to-help-out/.
8th Street Steak House
Mountain Tap Brewery
Half Salad, Entree and Dessert $30
Happy Hour 2:00-5:30, daily
$3 off appetizers
$10 specialty pizzas
$10 one-topping pizza and O’dell Lager or PBR
$2 off drafts, well cocktails and wines by the glass
$6 specialty cocktails
Late Night Happy Hour, 8pm-close
Featured item: Chef’s Choice: $75 meat and cheese board
arugula – balsamic tomatoes / almonds / yampa valley honey / cucumber
pow pow – crispy rice flour shrimp / spicy aioli / sesame powder / pickled ginger
shoestring potatoes – aioli / rosemary gastrique / duck fat powder
colorado cut – beef flat iron / mashed potatoes / gravy
To Go: Family meal
Salt and Lime
Featured Item: Barbacoa Quesadilla and a Casa Marg – $22.00
To Go Family meal: Taco Bar & Marg Pitcher $99.00
Rex’s American Grill and Bar
Steamboat Meat and Seafood
Mazzola’s Italian Restaurant
Featured item: Bison Lasagna & Mazzola’s salad $31
To Go: Family meal
Creekside Cafe and Grill
Featured Item: Malted waffle smothered in house granola butter, cartelized Palisade apples with local bacon and eggs…14.75
Strawberry/Black Pepper Mimosa…8
To go: Family meal
Big House Burgers
Featured Item: Add a custard Shake to any order for $4.
To Go Item: Family Meal
Lil’ House Country Biscuits and Coffee
Fritto Misto: calamari, shrimp, clams, fish of the day, lemon aioli
Lamb Ragout: braised leg of lamb, tomato, paccheri, smoked ricotta, nduja, mint
Espresso Creme Brulee: chocolate espresso beans, pop rocks, sea salt
Tom Yum Soup: Thai hot and sour soup, shrimp, tomato, mushroom, coriander
Lamb Barbacoa Tacos (2): lamb barbacoa, poblano tortilla, guajillo adobo, guacamole, onion, cilantro, lime
Pumpkin Bunuelos: star anise ice cream, mexican chocolate, rosemary honey
Yampa Valley Kitchen
French Onion Soup: beef bone broth, caramelized onions, bacon lardon, gruyere, rosemary focaccia
Fried “Bologna” & Jalapeno sandwich: house made spam, chow chow, aged cheddar, grain mustard, brioche, bbq potato chips
Caramel Apple Crisp Sundae: vanilla bean soft serve, oat crumble, salted caramel
$20.20 menu, 3 courses, available anytime all week.
Course 1: Choice of Pork Green Chili or Carl’s House Salad
Course 2: Choice of BLT Sandwich / Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wrap / Pulled Pork Sandwich / Tavern Burger / Wedge Salad / Kale Salad
Course 3: Choice of Mini Carrot Cake or Mini Chocolate Cake
Double Z Bar and BBQ
720 Fusion Fresh
Johnny B Good’s Diner
Table 79 Food Bar
50% off entrees
Old Town Pub
Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill
McKnight’s Irish Pub
4 course menu for $50 or $85 with wine pairing
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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Members of the Ute tribe from the Uintah and Ouray Reservation will return to Steamboat Springs to perform a series of powwow dance performances and share the history of these dances and their culture.