Thursday, March 17, 2011

Refreshed Austin Restaurant Week stimulates palates and economy

Addition of brunch, wine pairings, gluten free options, first bi-annual Austin Restaurant Awards and smartphone app keeps sixth season from going stale

Austin, TX (March 16, 2011) - Soon, the city’s finest restaurants will be the center of attention during the much anticipated Austin Restaurant Week. This epic epicurean semi-annual event refuses to go stale in its sixth season with an introduction of an innovative menu of fresh options such as: brunch, wine pairings, gluten free options, the first annual Austin Restaurant Awards, a crowd sourced charity selection and an app for iPhones, iPads and Androids. March 27 -30 and April 3- 6, over 75 A-list restaurants will open their arms to curious culinary admirers, serving up stellar prix fixe three-course dinners ($25 $35), lunches ($10-$15), and a new brunch option ($15-$20). Austin Restaurant Week is quickly becoming a tradition that spurs both locals and out of town diners to revisit old favorites and, best of all, try new places that stimulate both the economy and the palate.

Restaurant week is an opportunity for eateries to provide an affordable snapshot of what they do best and attract new diners. According to data collected by OpenTable Inc., an online restaurant reservation service, nearly two-thirds of diners who participated in restaurant weeks nationwide said they were likely to return to the restaurants they visited, and more than 70 percent would recommend the restaurant to others. Austin Restaurant Week is a diversified cross-section of Austin’s vibrant and growing restaurant scene including old favorites such as historic Paggi House, Jeffrey’s, Green Pastures, Fabi and Rosi, Aquarelle, Uchiko, Perry’s and Parkside alongside and new additions such as Haddigton’s, Trace at The W and more.

To help navigate the appetizing adventure, Austin Restaurant Week commissioned graphic designer Bart Kibbe of Rival Creative and the Austin-based Big Momma Apps to create an innovative and interactive smart phone app, reflective of Austin’s early adaptive tech scene as well as with the city’s growing culinary creativity. “We wanted the event to reach its full potential by inciting more interaction from participating foodies and attendees,” said Austin Restaurant Week Executive Directory and Founder Tyler Perkins. “We looked at what we thought would activate more people with Austin Restaurant Week, and an app was a no-brainer. We are very excited to be going digital.” Many tech savvy patrons already utilize social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Food Spotting. Now, with a simple click of a button, diners will also be able to create their own profiles, invite friends via forwarded invitations, book reservations, read reviews, read menus, and map out locations for all of the participating restaurants.

To conclude this flavorful week, the city’s favorite chefs, restaurants, and restaurant owners will be honored at The First Annual Austin Restaurant Awards (April 17). The Austin Restaurant Wrap Party for restaurateurs, chefs, staff, and media will follow. At the wrap party, a local charities selected by the Austin community will receive a portion (amounting up to $5,000) of the week’s proceeds. “The underlying purpose of Austin Restaurant Week has been and always will be to strengthen the ties between the community, local restaurants and non-profits,” shared Perkins.

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