Chef Geoff Tracy Defends Restaurant Week
Yesterday, Cashion's Eat Place general manager and co-owner Justin Abad shared his thoughts on the "excessive opportunism" of Restaurant Week and why his Adams Morgan restaurant refuses to participate. Today, we hand the mic over to Chef Geoff's and Lia's owner Geoff Tracy, whose five restaurants participate in the promotion, to explain why he embraces Restaurant Week. Tracy is also the board chairman of the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, which puts on Restaurant Week.
Defending Restaurant Week? Have we really become this pessimistic? Restaurant Week is like warm chocolate chip cookies, sunshine, or crispy bacon. It’s all good! Three courses at lunch for $20. Three courses at dinner for $35. More than 250 restaurants offering up these specials in what is normally the "slow, post-holiday, credit-card-balance-shock, lose-five-pounds-resolution season!"
OK, perhaps a few restaurants don’t get the math and/or the spirit of Restaurant Week. They have been called out...and hopefully they will up their game. That still leaves 200-plus great places to check out during Restaurant Week. There are lots of spots you can truly experience the restaurant and get strong value. The places you want to go to embrace that spirit...and the math. Check the menu beforehand and vote with your feet. I wouldn’t want to go to a spot that half-assed it either. I remember going to a place during Restaurant Week back when I was in culinary school. They totally didn’t embrace the spirit and posted this very wimpy menu that had no resemblance to their real menu. And guess what? They went out of business nine years ago!
As a restaurateur, I look at this week as an opportunity to treat guests to an experience that will bring them back over and over again during the year. They get to order and eat the expensive things, and we get to show them off. I sell more steak, scallops, and tuna this week than any other week of the year. It’s also a great time for our regulars, who get to enjoy a great deal and go “all out” with three courses. Yes, our food cost takes a beating during Restaurant Week, but I chalk it up as a marketing expense. Plus our servers get to earn great money during this week with all the extra folks coming in to dine. At Chef Geoff’s and Lia’s, you can easily get $30 to $40 worth of food for $20 at lunch and $40 to $50 worth of food for $35 at dinner. Plus, there are more than 7,500 three-course combinations you can select at dinner alone. That’s the spirit and the math of Restaurant Week. And there are a lot more restaurants out there that embrace it than there are that don’t. Find 'em and visit them this week.
Reservations are still available...for optimists, pessimists, and mathematicians alike. Hurry though, Restaurant Week ends Sunday.
Photo courtesy Chef Geoff's