By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4)VISIT Denver has unveiled the menus for its first ever Fall Denver Restaurant Week! More than 150 restaurants are participating with new ones being added daily. Industry experts say this will be a great way to support businesses when they need it most.

“This fall, Denver Restaurant Week’s latest iteration will focus on supporting restaurants through these exceptional circumstances, while keeping the health and safety of the community top of mind,” staff at VISIT Denver said.

(credit: CBS)

Denver diners can expect the traditional Denver Restaurant Week experience, multi-course meals at one of three price points, $25, $35, $45.

“It absolutely drives enthusiasm and excitement and gets people who wouldn’t ordinarily eat out to eat out and eat out more,” said Larry Herz, a former restauranter who now helps to promote others on Our Community Now Eats.

Herz has owned six restaurants and worked in the industry for 29 years. He now is a part of PIN Business Network, where restaurants are their clients. He helps to get more people trying places to eat around the metro area.

In less than two years, he has accumulated 15,000 followers on Instagram. He hosts a daily show called “What’s For Lunch” on the social media platform.

“I’m here to help, if you want my help, I’m here to help,” he told CBS4 on Monday. “I want to be the voice of Colorado restaurants and I think I’m well on my way.”

(credit: CBS)

Herz logged onto the website after his show and looked at the menus with CBS4 as they went live for the first time. He says there is still a lot of uncertainty for some members of the business who are dependent on flexible landlords while they struggle with high rent.

Limited capacity makes it difficult for these establishments to make up their operation expenses each month. As the weather changes, the industry is waiting to see if people will embrace heated outdoor seating.

“Right away what’s jumping out at me is the quality of restaurants on here, restaurants that I don’t think would normally do Restaurant Week are doing it,” Herz said. “Places like that you don’t normally go to on a Tuesday night, you can eat at world class restaurants for $45, that’s where I’d be going.”

Make your reservations early, because with limited occupancy spaces will fill up quick. You can also make a plan for dining to go that week. November 13-22 is the week before Thanksgiving, so let Denver chefs do the cooking for you!

“In 2020, COVID precautions caused the temporary closure and, later, only partial reopening of dine-in service at restaurants, creating extreme difficulties within the restaurant industry,” VISIT Denver officials said.

(credit: CBS)

Herz has shared more than 100 episodes on social media and his clients are doing well despite the pandemic. He says some are having a better year because they had a strong pickup and delivery model. The usual options of pizza, chicken wings, and barbeque remain popular even when people are staying home.

He says locations in the suburbs are also doing well. By his count, the number of total restaurants that have opened and closed during the pandemic is even. But he knows many are struggling and need the support of Denver Restaurant Week at this critical time.

He hopes people will dine at locally owned businesses and try a place they might not consider without the price-fixed menus. He says there are many good options in the metro area people need to try.

“There’s a little hidden gem that probably none of you have ever heard of before, I love these hidden gems,” Herz said while looking at the menus.

LINK: Fall Denver Restaurant Week Menus

In the weeks ahead, he will be promoting various restaurants he’s featured before with their menus for the event. Herz says he is always trying to highlight those who need the attention, those who have yet to be discovered. He also advises ordering to-go and delivery outside of third party apps, it takes away needed profits from these restaurants already hurting.

“If you have a restaurant that you want to see stay in business, this is a good chance for you to support it,” he said of Restaurant Week.

Fall Denver Restaurant Week will run from November 13-22, 2020.

Shawn Chitnis

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