Tag Archives: Restaurant week

How to Choose a Restaurant for Restaurant Week

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Restaurant Week is happening soon in the Twin Cities! 

July 20th – 25th

And while passing through my hometown this weekend, we learned that Green Bay is hosting a Restaurant Week soon as well: July 10th – 17th. Check it out at GBRestaurantWeek.com.

Restaurant Week is offered a few times per year in many cities throughout the U.S. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy three-course lunches or dinners at $15 – $30 per person.

We’ve taken advantage of  Restaurant Week a time or two, sometimes multiple times in one week! In the Twin Cities, there are so many options. How do you choose!? Here are some tips on how to narrow them down. Most of us can only afford to take advantage of one or two. So, let’s make the most of it!

How to Choose a Restaurant for Restaurant Week:

Dates and Locations

What dates are you available? Do you want to have lunch or dinner? Restaurants all over the Twin Cities Metro area participate in Restaurant Week. Living South of the River, I’m not going to want to dine in the northern suburbs and fight rush hour traffic on a weeknight. Are you available for lunch during the week? This is a time for a real deal!

Try Something New (or stick with a favorite!)

One of our rules when choosing a restaurant for Restaurant Week is that it must be a place where we’ve never dined before. This is a restaurant’s opportunity to showcase its signature dishes and win you over! On the other hand, if your favorite restaurant is participating in Restaurant Week and offering your favorite dish, by all means, take advantage.

Menu

This is by the far the biggest determinant for us when choosing where to dine. It is important that you look at the Restaurant Week Menu online before deciding. Many chefs choose their most popular dishes or items that represent them the best to introduce you to their cuisine and give you a true taste of what makes them unique.

However, for some reason, other restaurants seem to offer boring selections. For example:

Appetizer: Caesar Salad or French Onion Soup

Entrée: Sirloin or Spaghetti & Meatballs

Dessert: Chocolate Cake or Strawberry Cheesecake

Really? That’s all you’ve got?

While these menu items certainly can be made really well, I want to taste the creativity and the character of the restaurant. When it comes to showcasing your menu, spice it up. In fact, SEASON IT ALREADY!

We don’t even bother with the restaurants who don’t list their menus. And of course, if you have any dietary restrictions, make sure that you can eat what is offered. Most restaurants won’t deviate from the three-course menu during Restaurant Week, but it doesn’t hurt to call and ask for substitutions if it’s a place you really want to try.

Make Reservations

Due to the extreme value and the popularity of Restaurant Week, it’s highly recommended that you make reservations. Not all restaurants will accept them, though. In those cases, call ahead, arrive during “off” hours or prepare to wait.

Then, enjoy a truly memorable experience dining out that you may not have otherwise!

Which restaurant would you try during Twin Cities Restaurant Week?

Which restaurant do you think we are going to try? 😉

Cheers~
Carrie

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Restaurant Week: Longfellow Grill – Minneapolis

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Last week was Restaurant Week in the Twin Cities. Did you take advantage?

It’s a great opportunity to enjoy 3-course lunches or dinners at $15 – $30 per person. In the past, we’ve discovered Bradstreet Crafthouse, Cavé Vin, Cosmos, Rinata and Red Stag all because of Restaurant Week.

In order to narrow down our selection for Restaurant Week this time around, we decided on the following requirements:

  • Had to be a restaurant we hadn’t been to yet
  • Had to have a choice on the menu that Rob could eat
  • Had to have something on the menu that peaked our interests and that we would definitely order

Upon closer look, we were a little disappointed in the Menus for Restaurant Week this year.

In my opinion, Restaurant Week should be a time when the participating restaurants highlight some of their signature dishes on the menu. I want you to show me what you are about, what makes you different, and why I should come back.

Instead, too many of the Restaurant Week menus went something like this:

Appetizer: Caesar Salad or French Onion Soup

Entrée: Sirloin or Spaghetti & Meatballs

Dessert: Chocolate Cake or Strawberry Cheesecake

Really? That’s all you’ve got?

While these menu items certainly can be made really well, I want to taste the creativity and the character of the restaurant. When it comes to showcasing your menu, spice it up. In fact, SEASON IT ALREADY!

After weeding out the boring menus, we ruled out all of those with only poultry and fish options due to Rob’s allergies. We finally settled on one:

Longfellow Grill

The Restaurant Week Menu was intriguing. Rob planned to try the Mac N Cheese with Butternut Squash and Chorizo. I was either going to try the Greek Salad with Steak or the Scallop and Cauliflower Gratin. In addition, their selection of delightful beers on tap was right up our alley!

Knowing that Restaurants are busy during Restaurant Week, I tried making reservations online. I couldn’t find a link on their website anywhere nor on OPEN TABLE. So I tweeted them:

We decided to go later because I needed to get my workout in. By 7pm, I was a lot hungrier than I usually let myself get before going out.

Not knowing the area, it was a little tricky navigating the neighborhood streets. After driving around the block a few times, we realized that there was no parking to be had: no lot and very limited on-street parking. Rob suggested that we just go home.

But I was determined. We came this far, didn’t we? After driving around for a little while longer, we found a neighboring street with a parking spot open. Hooray! We parked on the side street and walked to the restaurant. People were pouring out into the lobby, obviously waiting for a table. Still, we went inside.

I inquired about a seat at the bar. Completely full.

Wait time? About a half hour.

Okay, so that’s not that bad, but by now we were frustrated and hungry, so we just left.

It does look like a nice cozy neighborhood restaurant. And kudos to them for being so busy during Restaurant Week! Will we be back to Longfellow Grill to really give their menu a try? Without reservations and the hassle we experienced with parking, probably not.

Stay tuned on Thursday to read where we ended up after we left Longfellow Grill…

Did you dine out during Restaurant Week? If so, where? And what were your impressions?

Restaurant Week

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Does your city have a Restaurant Week?

I love Restaurant Week in Minneapolis/St. Paul! It comes around two to three times per year and is advertised in Mpls St. Paul Magazine. Restaurants all over the Twin Cities participate by offering $15-$30 three-course lunches and dinners. Diners can choose from a small selection of (hopefully) some of the best food the restaurant has to offer.

This season’s restaurant week in the Twin Cities is Sunday, February 26th through Friday, March 2nd.

Reservations are Highly Recommended

One year, Rob and I spent nearly every day of Restaurant Week trying out several of the restaurants! While our expenditures definitely added up in the end, we did enjoy a few dinners that would have cost the same for the entree alone. We also found a few exceptional places that we’ve returned to again and again.

Our favorite way to enjoy restaurant week is to browse the list of restaurants online. All of the restaurant week menus are listed there! Since there are so many restaurants participating, we can choose one that has a menu with the most interesting or healthiest options. We like to try restaurants that we haven’t before. However, if any of our favorites are participating during restaurant week, we are sure to take advantage of the special pricing!

Do you have a restaurant week where you live? If so, do you take advantage of it? What Twin Cities restaurants are you planning to or would you attend during this Restaurant Week?

We will be sure to update you on our choice this week!

Cheers~
Carrie