Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Open Thread: Devour Downtown Fatique?

Wow, that simple Devour Downtown post yesterday opened up a flood of response. Based on your emails, some of you have had good deals and others feel it's no deal at all. Of course, the lesson to restaurateurs is that fine diners are just as good at seeing through a cost-cutting menu as industry professionals. (And to be fair, while I've been along for 3 or so previews of Devour Downtowns, there are several places I wouldn't recommend you go where the food was/is not good and the menu wasn't anything special.) We all know Devour Downtown in Indy has never taken on the cache of restaurant weeks in other cities where diners compete for reservations and focus on sampling the hot spots. But I wonder, is two two-week Devour Downtowns too much? Are the poor quality menus a reflection on the economy? Are restaurants themselves fatigued with the event? Are diners? We all know some owners who are outside of downtown and very happy not to have to participate (and others who choose not to.) So, what do you think?

11 comments:

anniem261 said...

My friends and I are going to Ruths Chris. Not my first choice of all of the Devour DT list but I am going along with the crowd. Has anyone felt that the menu at Ruths Chris for this event is not a good value ( excluding the 1/2 off wine special ) ?

braingirl said...

Steakhouses are the best deal -- you usually get a steak that would be $30 on its own, plus salad, etc. Still checking on the 1/2 bottle special at Ruth's. Someone in a comment yesterday noted they might not still be running it.

Anne said...

My friends and I stick to the same restaurants - Elements, Capitol Grill, R Bistro (and this year Euphoria)... To me, those are the best places to go to - I wouldn't really bother going to a place like Scotty's or the Claddagh.

CorrND said...

When I look at the menus for a lot of these places, I often think to myself, "what would I get at these places if I went on a regular night expecting to spend about $30 each?" It's rarely what they're offering. At the very least, we only order dessert about half the time and we NEVER order two! I don't like being locked into ordering dessert when I might not even be in the mood for it at the end of the meal.

This year we're going to hit Elements (haven't been since Hardesty left) and possibly Capital Grille if we want to hit a second place the second week.

Still Waiting said...

In my opinion its a matter of creating a good impression of quality. Restaurateurs in the heart land are under a greater pressure then those on the coasts, where people are more flippant with their money. What I think creates a problem for devour is that, at least in the case of the locally owned places, is that the restaurants are already offering a great value, and have cut their margins as tight as they can to make their concept appealing to the typical Indiana diner.

The big steakhouses of course are the best deal because they have the largest profit margins, so they can create a better "deal." It's all a matter of perspective. That's why certain restaurants appear better than others.

As for my post on devour yesterday, I'll make one musing. Weber is offering a $24.95 per head banquet menu for $30.00.

braingirl said...

I just noted in the other topic, Ryan Craig of Ruth's Chris confirms it's 1/2 price wine bottles under $100 on Weds at the downtown location until further notice..

braingirl said...

D'oh -- it's at both Ruth's. My mistake.

Country Mouse City Mouse Indy said...

I'm much more inclined to check out the restaurants participating in the restaurant.com certificates myself. They do have some restrictions, but they're not a predetermined menu! We're going to Wasabi tonight with a $100 gift certificate that cost $40 usually, but with a special they're running, cost me $12. Granted, we have to spend $200 on food to get the $100 off, but that shouldn't be hard with the group I'm going with!!

Don said...

Restaurants slashing prices is due to the fact that the economy is in a slump. However, keep in mind that they are doing so because no one is going out to eat. No one is going out to eat because there is less money. So they are adapting to the environment of the economy. So even though the prices seem like a great deal, in relativity its still more than most people want to spend.

In my stomping ground of NYC the best of the best restaurants are opening their doors for the famed "restaurant week." If anything, the best restaurants should be the ones open to slashing prices because they're losing business too and the only way for them to stay on top is to get the reviews which in turn will get them customers.

Theresa said...

Our objection to DT is that many of the restaurants make you feel like second class citizens or cheapskates for trying them during this promotion. We went to Dunaways last night and the DT menu was not offered, we had to ask. Then, when it does come, it is postage stamp sized compared to the regular menu and we feel a definite cooling from not being a "regular" customer. This has happened in other places, often. Not all, but most gave us the feeling that we weren't up to their typical clientele. We would prefer that the DT choices were offered or suggested with the regular menu. From now on, if we want to go to a restaurant, we won't deal with the DT and just order off the menu and go out less and order less. Their loss - we will be less likely to check out new places.

Joanne said...

I remember someone saying that about Dunaway's last year during Restaurant Week. To me, that is indicative of the regular service/feeling about the customer at Dunaway's, which is why even though we live literally within a stone's throw of Dunaway's, we wouldn't go there. A server would be dumb to be rude to a customer who is spending money in their restaurant, period. My husband and I always order extras during RW since we are getting a deal on the meal. Elements is excellent, Capital Grille is really good, the Steakhouses, as noted, make the best deal. I don't love Palamino but I love how they do wine pairings and offer a really interesting, full menu on the $30 dinner deal. Oceanaire seems to like it so much they have a menu deal all year round now. I think it's a great idea and it's a shame if restaurant's can't see through to participate. When I was in NYC it was one of my favorite weeks, we looked forward to it all year! This year we're looking forward to Euphoria, here. A friend of mine last night went and loved it.