New York City’s Restaurant Week kicked off this Monday, July 16th, and scores of the city’s top restaurants have created their prix-fixed menus to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this event. This is the first year that Restaurant Week will actually last a full month, all the way until August 10th. Those looking to dine at any participating restaurants can expect three courses for $24.07 for lunch and $35 for dinner.
While restaurant week can be a great experience for those without huge budgets to sample cuisine from New York’s finest restaurants at a moderate price, it puts restaurants in a sort of frenzy to please customers at lightning speed and still somehow turn a profit with the low prix-fixed meals they are serving. However one restaurant owner has a unique perspective towards restaurant week, viewing it more as a service from the restaurant community at large.
Alex Guarnaschelli is the chef and owner of Butter, and despite the difficulties Butter faces every year when this week comes around, she views it as a priority for her restaurant to make great food affordable to more people. Because of this philosophy, Butter has had Restaurant Week menus for the past eight years.
“Part of my commitment to Restaurant Week is because I don’t think it’s fair, for financial reasons, to end up excluding people from having a fun dining experience. I really don’t. I feel passionately about that. I mean, we’ve done Restaurant Week for eight years with Butter, and I would never not do it. It’s torture for the staff, it’s such work and it’s so hard. It’s like bailing water out of a boat 24/7. But it gives us a chance to remind us about hospitality, and the idea that people come to a restaurant to eat. Like, that basic idea that’s so easy to get away from is important to me. Restaurant Week is a nice kick-in-the-ass reminder of that; to me…I think it’s great for students, too. It’s a good student budget thing. You pick two or three or whatever, and you have a number of weeks to go, and one of those every week or two is something you can manage.”
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