There's nothing more frustrating than showing up at that restaurant you've been anxious to try, only to be told the wait is 60 minutes. Instead, call ahead. All of the menus in this guide indicate whether the restaurant takes reservations. If the restaurant is booked when you call, see if they take online reservations. Sometimes restaurants that use reservation tools like Open Table have tables set aside specifically for those bookings. For high-demand restaurants, consider an early (4:30 or 5 pm) or late seating (after 8 pm) or book a midweek dinner. This year, quite a few restaurants are also making their three-course meals available at lunch. The menus in this guide detail the hours each restaurant is serving their three-course menus. A final hack, the second weekend of Inlander Restaurant Week tends to be a little less busy than the first.
Getting a Deal
There are some crazy deals to be had during Inlander Restaurant Week. Filet Mignon Oscar (that's steak with fresh crab and hollandaise sauce) is on the menu at Chaps. Spencer's famous Zabuton Steak also made the cut this year (you'll normally pay upwards of $50 for an 8-ounce cut). So peruse the menus carefully. With all those savings, order a local beer, and of course, make sure you tip your server well. Also know, tax is not included in that $22 or $33 price.
If you really want to go all out, there are some awesome hotel packages that come with dining credits at Inlander Restaurant Week eateries. For instance, a $197 package at the Davenport Hotel Lusso includes an overnight stay and a $75 dining credit at any of the Davenport's fine restaurants. Check for packages on InlanderRestaurantWeek.com.
Not everyone can afford to go out to eat. There are some super easy ways to make sure that everyone can eat during Inlander Restaurant Week. Post about your dinner out, tag it with #IRWRave Reviews on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook (make sure your privacy setting is opened up so we can see your post and count it), and Sysco will donate five meals to Second Harvest. Or make a direct donation to Second Harvest as you're perusing menus. We've added a link online.
GF / GFA / V / V+
This year, more restaurants than ever before are offering options for the gluten-free, vegetarians or vegans. We even spotted some keto-friendly designations on menus! So how do you make sense of it all? GF means the dish is gluten-free. GFA means the dish can be prepared, by request, gluten-free. V stands for vegetarian, while V+ means the dish is vegan, or can be prepared vegan by request.
Local just tastes better. While Inlander Restaurant Week aims to support our awesome local chefs and restaurants, we also want to spotlight the amazing distilleries, wineries, cideries and breweries that make our community taste so good. Each restaurant is highlighting one local beverage in the listings found in this guide, and then you'll find two more options on the menus inside each restaurant. In all, more than 45 local producers are on the menus. Drink up!
While we intended Inlander Restaurant Week to be primarily a dinner event, more restaurants than ever before are now offering their three-course meal all day. So how do you know when the three-course meal is being served? The hours the Restaurant Week menu is offered are listed right on the menu. These aren't the hours the restaurant is open, but strictly when they are making their Inlander Restaurant Week meal available.
If you don't see Reservations Recommended noted in red on a menu, then that restaurant doesn't take them. But if they do, make the call now. Some high-demand restaurants may book up even before Restaurant Week even begins. You'll also see the words Counter Service on some menus. These restaurants are still serving the pre-fixe menu, but you should be prepared to order your meal at the counter before settling in to eat.