Longmont Restaurant Week exceeded expectations when it launched last year. Folks at the Longmont Chamber of Commerce, including a handful of motivated Longmont restaurateurs, set a goal of getting 30 food establishments to offer meals at the ridiculously low price of $18.71 (in honor of the year Longmont was founded).
Lo and behold, the Chamber got 42 food businesses to sign up and co-organizer Karen Stallard said the feedback from customers who dined out during the event was “extremely good.”
So Longmont Restaurant Week is back, for 10 days starting March 29, with added restaurants, an additional price point for more explorative diners, childcare options, a fundraiser, a food truck battle and a kick-off party at Oskar Blues. It’s a definitively Longmont spin on restaurant week, which co-organizer Leah Winkler says is by design.
“I think Longmont Restaurant Week is a little unique. I like to think of it as the most inclusive of all the restaurant weeks we looked at,” she says.
That includes First Bite Boulder and Denver Restaurant Week, where the focus isn’t as much on the community of diners, but on highlighting the food. There’s nothing wrong with that, Winkler says, it’s just not the best model for Longmont.
“What we’ve come across doing our research is that [other restaurant weeks] focus on just putting restaurants out there, whereas we’ll try to build a bigger community event around food,” Winkler says. “It’s not just, ‘Here are the participants, now go.’ It’s, ‘Here, how can we help you do that?’”
One way the organizers are helping get people to these restaurants is by offering childcare at Family Village for up to three hours on one of three “date nights.” But Longmont Restaurant Week isn’t just about flexibility for consumers; there was momentum from local food business owners to create an opportunity for themselves outside of the other restaurant weeks in the region.
“The biggest distinction why we wouldn’t plug in [to First Bite or Denver Restaurant Week] is they require a prix fixe, three-course menu,” Stallard says. “That doesn’t fit every restaurant in Longmont. The goal of Longmont Restaurant Week is to show how far Longmont has come. If you haven’t visited Longmont in the last six months — or six years — it looks completely different.”
Stallard and Winkler say they doubled down on providing flexibility to Longmont food businesses this year. That’s why they added a second price point, $28.71, to accommodate restaurants eager to show off multi-course, or higher-end dining. La Momo Maes Bakery, on the other hand, doesn’t have a way to make the regular price point of $18.71 feel like a bargain, so they’re offering coffee or a cupcake for $1.87, Winkler says. Still other establishments are offering family-sized and combo meals.
Stallard says Longmont Restaurant Week has about the same proportion of participating businesses (out of the total number of local food establishments) as Denver Restaurant Week.
The $18.71 (and other) prices don’t include tip, mind you, and Stallard asks that if you do explore Longmont’s restaurants, breweries, bakeries and everything else, that you “pay it forward and treat the staff well, because they’re hustling for these 10 days.”
Fitting in trips to all 49 food establishments in 10 days… we’ll be hustling too.