PHOENIX — Arizona Restaurant Week, a 10-day event where more than 100 restaurants showcase some of their signature dishes with special three-course menus, begins Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, and runs through Sept. 26, 2021.
While traditionally a celebratory event, Arizona Restaurant Association CEO and President Steve Chucri said restaurant owners in Arizona are continuing to deal with a number of challenges at the same time: increasing operation and food costs, supply issues, a worker shortage, being mindful of COVID-19 safety, and diners eager to go out and about.
As a result, there are two changes to this season's restaurant week: about 25 to 30 fewer restaurants -- there are still 140+ signed up, however -- and a new $55 option, in addition to the $33/$44 options.
The reason some restaurants have decided not to participate in the fall isn't that they do not want to, according to Chucri, but because they do not have the resources to handle more customers.
"So, we've got by virtue of that, fewer restaurants participating fall restaurant week -- about 25 to 30, not a ton -- because they're so busy. But also keep in mind, we're still struggling with labor, as you know," said Chucri. "So some restaurants have said, we don't want to commit to restaurant week and more frequency coming through our doors when we can barely accommodate what we have coming in right now."
Earlier this week, he said 16,000 reservations had already been made at several restaurants.
"We want to tell everyone, get your reservations in as quickly as possible or pick kind of a time, maybe, that you wouldn't typically go and dine in a restaurant because we certainly want to be able to accommodate all of our guests," he said.
Most restaurants remain in the $33 and $44 price range, according to the Arizona Restaurant Week website. About 20 restaurants -- some of the higher-end restaurants and steakhouses -- have increased their pricing to $55 or added an upcharge to costlier items, such as steak.
As they did during the pandemic, some restaurants will also have their "restaurant week" menus available for takeout.
Visit https://arizonarestaurantweek.com to view a list of all the restaurants participating and their menus. The website also allows people to filter the list by cuisine, location, and price.
While not affiliated, Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week is also happening through Sept. 18, 2021. About 20 restaurants are participating in that week-long event. After that, Carefree Restaurant Week is scheduled for Oct. 1-10, 2021.