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Username: Tigersfan9

Post Number: 84
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 09, 2007 - 12:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

During Winter Blast, get discounts at Detroit's hottest restaurants

January 9, 2007



If the only thing keeping you from dining on lobster at swanky Seldom Blues or downing Porterhouse steak at upscale Coach Insignia is a fear of the bill at the end, then take a Sharpie marker and circle the following dates on your calendar: Feb. 8, 9, 10 and 11.

During those four days and nights, all of the food at Seldom Blues, Coach Insignia and dozens of others of Detroit restaurants will be on sale.

In a kickoff to and partnership with the Winter Blast, a collection of Detroit’s hottest restaurants will offer 15% to 30% off the entire food order to anyone participating in a free program called “Metro PCS Dine in the D”. All it takes is a downloaded Internet coupon and a call ahead to make a reservation.

It will be the closest thing to a Restaurant Week that Detroit will have.

The idea for Dine in the D came from the constantly active mind of Winter Blast producer Jon Witz, who is working with organizations like the Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau to turn the popular festival into a citywide, statewide and regional attraction — and to so by pairing it with the food and cultural offerings of Detroit.

“It is a huge deal,” says Witz of Dine in the D. “I think that it is, without question, the most viable opportunity to share the Winter Blast capital with other Detroit entertainment venues, and one where we can have a big impact.”

Other venues, like the Fox and Gem Theatres, are also offering discounts during Winter Blast weekend, and an effort is underway for Detroit’s shops to do so, as well. But the most widespread effort thus far lies with the restaurants.

Though establishments like Opus One, Sweet Georgia Brown, Andiamo Riverfront, the Caucus Club and several more eateries are also offering discounts of 15%, 20%, 25% or 30% off food orders, it’s not just the city’s fine dining restaurants that are participating.

Favorite food hangouts like Traffic Jam and Snug, the Town Pump and the Majestic have also committed to the program. Hockeytown Café and Cheli’s Chili are in, too.

So far, about 30 restaurants have said they will participate, but Witz projects the final number to rise to 75 by Blast time.

He adds that the title sponsor, Metro PCS, will provide funding for staffing the program as well as promotional materials like T-shirts and buttons. The restaurants have also agreed to donate a $50 or $100 gift certificate as a raffle prize for Dine in the D diners to win dinner in Detroit for a year. If the program goes well, the hope is that it may eventually expand to a week or more.

Frank Taylor, chairman of Southern Hospitality Restaurant Group, which owns Seldom Blues, Sweet Georgia Brown and three other Detroit restaurants (Detroit’s Breakfast House and Grill, Grand City Grille and The Woodward), says a willingness to slash prices for a few days is a long-term investment in potential patrons.

“You look at what you do, and you’re driving a business,” he says. “You’re going to have people walk in the doors, and you give them another incentive to come to your restaurant. If you get them in, and do the right stuff, hopefully, you’ll hook them.”

He also welcomes the spirit of togetherness the program has brought to many of Detroit’s restaurateurs and views Dine the D as something that can benefit them all.

“When people are too competitive, and should I say, a little envious of each other, that’s when it doesn’t work,” Taylor says. “We really need to pull for one another in a tough economy. In Michigan, I think restaurants need to cheer for each other.”

Other cheers might arise when the food check arrives, and there’s a sizable dollar amount subtracted from the total.

Copyright © 2006 Detroit Free Press Inc.
http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll /article?AID=/20070109/FEATURE S02/70109016

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