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A special fall edition of Denver Restaurant Week kicks off today (Friday, Nov. 13) with $ 25, $ 35, and $ 45 set menus for in-house or take-away at dozen of subway restaurants through Sunday, Nov. November. Due to the current COVID restrictions (restaurants in Denver) with a capacity of 25 percent and closing until 10 p.m., planning ahead is recommended. Here’s how you can make the most of your meal money over the next ten days:

If you order take away, have some cocktails like these cans from Il Posto.EXPAND

If you order take away, have some cocktails like these cans from Il Posto.

Linnea Covington

With so few seats available, tables are booked out even faster than in previous years. If you haven’t made reservations yet, check availability as soon as possible and consider going somewhere you’ve never been or wanted to try some cuisine instead of your usual popular favorites. Try the upscale Chinese menu at Fortune Wok to Table (2817 East Third Avenue) or try Phoenician Kabob (5709 East ColfaxAvenue) for unusual Middle Eastern dishes. But don’t be afraid to join the table on some of the bigger names too. Just be flexible with the time and day. Instead of Friday or Saturday at 7 p.m., aim for Monday or Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Choose places near home to take away
Many restaurants are offering their restaurant week menus this year to take away and deliver to ensure your safety. Some groceries travel well and don’t suffer from a 30-minute ride in the passenger seat of your car (pro tip: hang take-away bags on the coat hooks above your back seats so everything stays level) but carefully plated dishes and things that move Cooling quickly or losing their crispness in a take-out container will require a faster ride. Check the list of companies participating in Restaurant Week, then check the transit time on Google Maps. We don’t recommend driving fast, but almost any dish is fine if you can get it door-to-door in ten minutes. Buckle up – and don’t forget to order drinks!

Call before you leave and be patient when you arrive
COVID cases are on the rise, and many restaurant workers are taking short term time off to self-isolate while waiting for test results or quarantine themselves if exposed. As a result, many establishments work with skeleton crews – and are likely worn out from the months of requiring changes every time new restrictions arise. Some restaurants even had to close at short notice for a day or two. A quick phone call before leaving your home is likely to be advisable. While there, be considerate of the staff, follow the rules and vacate your table immediately if there is a time limit.

Coperta will be happy to welcome you indoors or outdoors.EXPAND

Coperta will be happy to welcome you indoors or outdoors.

Courtesy Coperta

Consider eating outdoors
We don’t want you to turn into a frosted patio ornament if the temperature is too cold, but outside heaters, blankets (bring your own!), Gloves, and hats make things reasonably comfortable, and there are plenty of restaurants that are winterproof Provide outdoor seating. Coperta and its sibling Beast + Bottle both have mini greenhouses for comfortable and isolated al fresco dining, and both offer restaurant week menus. Check out your other vendors to see what they offer, whether it’s a fire pit, tent, igloo, or just a round of hot toddlers.

Tip big
Restaurant workers are considered a vital workforce during the pandemic and are taking a risk by exposing themselves to large numbers of people on a daily basis. When you eat out you can pay people to cook your food and serve you – and that’s a luxury, whether it be several times a week or once a year. You are treated like royalty, so share the wealth like you are the king. Don’t see your tip as an incentive for servers to do better work. They’ve already made at least 20 percent if only they showed up. Some restaurants have implemented a tipping structure so that an automatic service charge is added to your bill that is distributed to both front and rear staff. The restaurants of the restaurateur Frank Bonanno, Mizuna, Luca, Osteria Marco and Russell’s Smokehouse are among the participants of the restaurant week who have no problems – but you can always add a little extra.

Keep Westword Free … Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we want to keep it that way. We offer our readers free access to concise coverage of local news, food and culture. Produce stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands with bold coverage, stylish writing, and staff, everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Feature Writing Award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism have won. With the existence of local journalism under siege and setbacks having a greater impact on advertising revenue, it is more important than ever for us to raise support for funding our local journalism. You can help by joining our “I Support” membership program which allows us to continue to cover Denver without paywalls.

Mark Antonation is the Westword Food & Drink Editor. He began eating and writing about every restaurant on Federal Boulevard and continues to cover the diverse international food scene on Metro Denver and the city’s rapidly changing dining landscape. Mark was recognized as an Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association in 2018.