DENVER – Reservations are filling up quickly as Denver Restaurant Week kicks off.

Chef and owner Andrea Frizzi appeared early in the kitchen of Il Posto to prepare a pesto with carrots for one of the dishes on his three-course menu. He could hardly suppress his excitement because he knew his restaurant was booked for the weekend.

“The energy is super good for the city. And not just for the city, for the people who work in the restaurant,” said Frizzi.

Frizzi survived two indoor food bans and described the second like a punch in the gut. He said Il Posto lost half a million dollars but could do it thanks to a PPP loan and from investors.

“Our job was to just stay open because we never give up. People love that kind of story,” Frizzi said.

Denver Restaurant Week runs from April 23rd to May 2nd. The 10-day event has been postponed to April to allow restaurants to use patios and other outdoor spaces.

The participating restaurants offer a multi-course menu for $ 25, $ 35, or $ 45 per person. For a full list of restaurants and more information, visit the Visit Denver website.

The event will take place shortly after the Denver restaurant capacity restrictions were lifted. While restaurants can be 100% busy, they must maintain six feet of social distance, and that’s just one reason why reservations can be hard to come by.

“Every week we get a week closer to the other side, and I think this week feels so good,” said Bobby Stuckey, co-owner of Frasca Hospitality Group and founding member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition.

Congress passed a $ 28.6 billion restaurant revitalization fund in March, but Stuckey knows it’s too late for some restaurants that couldn’t survive last year.

“That’s the sad thing about missing a lot of our coworkers and fellow diner owners this week,” said Stuckey.

Linda Hampsten Fox, cook and owner of The Bindery, said customers who haven’t eaten in months are finally returning.

“I think everyone has so little itch to get out,” said Hampsten Fox.

For the first time this year, The Bindery is also offering a take away option for restaurant week.

“This is a good option for people who are still uncomfortable or have concerns,” said Hampsten Fox.