More than 50 Downtown Memphis restaurants will offer special menus for dinner and lunch as part of this year’s Downtown Dining Week, which runs Nov. 1-7.
Restaurants run the gamut from fine dining establishments like Felicia Suzanne’s and Catherine & Mary’s to casual spots like Grecian Gourmet Taverna and Aldo’s Pizza Pies.
Many of the offerings are at a discount, designed to show new diners the best of what the restaurants have to offer.
The event is designed for neighborhood residents to try new places just down the street, as well for Memphians from other parts of the city to visit Downtown and try something new.
Downtown Dining Week 2021: What to expect
Traditionally, the price is based on the year. This year, three course-dinners and special menus at many participating restaurants are being offered at $20.21. While not all participating restaurants will offer specials priced at $20.21, all will offer a special deal that showcases its fare.
“It’s the best opportunity to eat at several restaurants at a great price, especially the ones that you may not normally eat at because of the cost,” said Michael Patrick, chef and owner of Rizzo’s Diner. “I am actually jealous because I would love to be dining out every night this week too.”
Rizzo’s will offer a two-course lunch special for $10.21. Select bottles of wine will be available at dinner for $20.21.
South of Beale participates in Downtown Dining Week every year.
“We love it,” owner Ed Cabigao said. “It’s a good introduction to new people who don’t normally eat Downtown.”
This year, the Downtown Dining Week special at South of Beale will be a three-course dinner menu for $20.21 that features some new menu offerings as well as longtime favorites like the General Tso’s Cauliflower and the Jack and Coke Bread Pudding.
RawGirls will participate in Downtown Dining Week for the first time. The first brick-and-mortar location for this vegan eatery opened in Peabody Place in May.
“We want to be a part of all great things going on Downtown,” co-owner Amy Pickle said. “There are so many amazing restaurants here, it’s an honor to join them for (Downtown Dining Week).”
RawGirls is a great spot to pick up a grab-and-go breakfast or lunch, or dine out on its patio. Pickle said they will offer two Downtown Dining Week specials: a lunch special including one of the hot soups of the day, any salad, plus a freshly baked gluten-free cookie for $13 and a six pack of cold pressed juices for $40.
It will also be the first time for Slim & Husky’s to participate in Downtown Dining Week.
“As we approach our one-year anniversary in the Memphis market, Slim + Husky’s is excited to participate in Downtown Memphis Dining Week,” said Clint Gray, co-founder and chief marketing officer. “We invite residents and tourists to check us out and to take advantage of our ‘Two Signature Slims for $20.21’ promotion. We have received so much support from the community, this is a unique way for us to show our appreciation.”
Share your Downtown Dining Week experiences
The week is not only fun for diners, but also makes a big impact on the participating restaurants.
“It’s Rizzo’s biggest week of the year,” Patrick said. “This week gives us exposure to new customers who come back again as regulars.”
Those new customers and regulars are asked to share their Dining Week experiences on social media and tag #DDW21 and @downtownmemphis. At the end of the week, the Downtown Memphis Commission will announce the winners of its dining gift card giveaways.
Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.
Downtown Dining Week tips
We asked Downtown Dining Week co-founder Deni Reilly for her advice on how to get the most out of the week.
Reilly brings a lot of experience to the table. Not only is she a co-founder of the week-long dining event, she owns Downtown restaurant The Majestic Grille with her husband, Patrick, and has participated in Downtown Dining Week every year.
Here are five of her tips:
Make reservations: Make your reservation today. This dining week is very popular, and reservations fill up quickly.
Check hours of operation: Many restaurants are still operating with smaller capacity and on reduced hours, so double check restaurants’ hours on their websites.
Be kind and tip like a champ: While the meals are discounted, your servers are still doing just as much work to wait on you as they would with a full-priced meal. Reilly recommends you base your tip on what your meal would normally cost, then “add some happiness on top.”
Be patient and flexible: Restaurants are dealing with supply chain delays and price increases across the board, so expect changes in menus and some flexibility in offerings this year.
“We’ve given participating restaurants the flexibility to create offerings that best meet their current business needs,” Reilly said. “The menus may look a little different this year, but there will be still be delicious deals to enjoy.”
Don’t overlook the drink options: Downtown Dining Week offerings at most places include cocktail, beer and wine specials. “We have wonderful wine and spirits sponsors in Delicato Family Wines and Old Dominick Distillery,” Reilly said. “Support our sponsors and order a cocktail or three.”
At a glance
Downtown Dining Week
When: Nov. 1-7
Location: More than 50 restaurants across Downtown Memphis; full list is available at downtownmemphis.com
Price: Specials vary, but most restaurants offer $20.21 dinner menus