By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, several Larimer Square chefs, and the folks from Barefoot Wines recently joined VISIT Denver to kick off the city’s first ever Spring Restaurant Week.

“This is a chance for us as Denverites to get out and support our restaurants, support the workers, and enjoy some great food. With our progress on vaccinations and safety measure in place, there has never been a better reason to get out and enjoy our local favorites,” Hancock said at the news conference.

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(credit CBS)

VISIT Denver held the kick-off in the middle of Larimer Street, which closed down in June of 2020. The closed street gives all the restaurant on Larimer Square more space to create patios.

“So this year, we’re treating Denver Restaurant Week like the kickoff of our patio season,” said Chef Ariana Didziulis of Bistro Vendome.

After a year of a global pandemic that took a heavy toll on the restaurant industry, Troy Guard is seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

“I think people are kind of itching to get out there,” said Guard, Chef and Owner of TAG Restaurant on Larimer Square.

Chef Troy Guard of TAG Restaurant (credit CBS)

Business has been down 50%, but the steps the city took to close Larimer and allow seating into the street has been a game changer.

“We’re really excited, the way they closed it, and the way they set it up with different seating areas, bars, even music and fireplaces,” Guard explained.

The outdoor seating nearly doubles the number of people he can serve at TAG. Guard recognizes that many still may be worried about eating out, but pick-up and delivery options might appeal to them. And his special Restaurant Week menu is worth getting out for.

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“We always like to do something that’s different and off the menu,” Guard told CBS4.

His $45 menu includes choices from several options:

Welcome Amuse:
–Hamachi sashimi, yuzu soy, serrano pepper

(credit CBS)

Appetizer:
–Braised & seared pork belly, spring pea puree, shaved daikon salad
–“Aburi” style wild salmon, pickled rhubarb ginger relish, arugula
–Heirloom roasted baby carrot salad, smoked burrata, black garlic, crispy noodle

(credit CBS)

Entrée:
–Colorado NY striploin, roasted sunchokes, morel cream, pueblo asparagus
–Carmelized Atlantic scallops, rock shrimp, corn chowder, Swiss chard
–Handmade spinach pappardelle, mixed mushrooms, toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese

Dessert:
–Kaffir lime crème brulee, coconut brittle, kumquat marmalade
–Strawberry buttermilk shortcake, California strawberries, vanilla cream, burnt orange syrup

LINK: Denver Restaurant Week Menus

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Denver Restaurant Week runs from April 23rd – May 2nd. There are nearly 200 Metro Area restaurants participating, which means they’re offering multi-course meals at one of three prices: $25, $35, $45.

Libby Smith