Arizona Restaurant Week will return this September and if you've lived in the Valley for any extended amount of time, then you're probably thinking you know the drill. Restaurants will offer a prix-fixe menu at a discounted price for a week (or so) in order to encourage diners to try some new dining spots.
But this time around there are a few changes to the usual routine. Rather than starting the event on a Saturday night and running it through the following Sunday, this fall's Restaurant Week will kick off on Friday, September 19 to give diners a full ten days of opportunity.
Oh yeah, and the prices have been raised for the first time in the event's history.
This year's fall edition of Arizona Restaurant Week will run from Friday, September 19 to Sunday, September 28. This is the first time the event will be starting on a Friday night.
This isn't, however, the first time the event has run for ten days; this year's Spring Restaurant Week was also a ten-day event that ran from Saturday, May 17 through Monday, May 26 -- though in that circumstance the event was extended to include the Memorial Day holiday.
So why the change this time?
According to President and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association Steve Chucri:
"We are starting on a Friday because consumers have asked for it -- so we're giving them one more night to enjoy all that ARW has to offer. Additionally, restaurants are now able to prep the special menu on a Thursday for a Friday launch instead of a busy Friday for a Saturday launch. It is a win-win for consumers and chefs."
The change will also help spread out the work for chefs, who have had to deal with nearly empty restaurants on Friday night before the event begins only to be slammed with business the next day.
The price options for the three-course prix-fixe menus this year have also be raised from $30 and $40 to $33 and $44. That price often excludes beverages.
It's only a slight bump in price, but it's also the first time the prices have been changed since the event's conception in 2008. Chucri says rising food costs are to blame.
He also says the event is still thriving and notes that 20 more restaurants participated in this spring Restaurant Week than in previous seasons. The list of restaurants that will be participating in the upcoming event has not yet been announced, but will be available on the Arizona Restaurant Week website.