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Raining on San Diego Restaurant Week

Stingaree was hurt by the rain and will extend
Restaraunt Week pricing by a week.
Courtesy photo

As any fan of dining out in San Diego knows, this was Restaurant Week, the extremely popular semi-annual chance to take one’s taste buds on a culinary exploration for bargain prices at 188 area restaurants. This week has also been the rainiest in years, and for the most part, San Diegans hate going out in the rain. So the big question is: Has the soggy weather dampened San Diego’s appetite for Restaurant Week?

The answer: It depends on who you ask.

“Not as far as I know," says Laurel McFarlane of McFarlane Promotions, the company handling promotions for Restaurant Week. "I haven’t received any official complaints from any of the restaurants. However, over 100 of the restaurants have decided to extend their special prix fixe menus for an additional week, so this weather might have been an extra bonus for San Diego diners.”

Stingaree’s James Brennan and Jeff Josenhans of the Grant Grill paint a cloudy picture. “This weather is killing us,” Brennan says. Both say their reservations are down about 60 percent but are looking strong for the weekend. Stingaree will be extending its Restaurant Week menu into next week, and the Grant Grill is strongly considering it at this point. Both restaurants point out that they have valet parking, so guests can stay dry from their cars to the restaurant.

At Bleu Boheme in Kensington, owner Phillipe Beltran says the weather is only a minor factor. “We’ve lost a few reservations, but have made up for it with walk-ins and last-minute reservations," he says. "For example, out of 110 served last night, 90 were Restaurant Week menus.”

Lesley Cohn, whose Cohn Restaurant Group includes Kemo Sabe, Island Prime, Indigo Grill, The Prado, Thee Bungalow, 333 Pacific, and Mister Tiki Mai Tai Lounge, says, “The bad weather is definitely not a good thing. People just don’t venture out as much. Some of our restaurants have been negatively affected, but I don’t know yet by what percent. It’s a disappointment, not only for the restaurants, but for the diners as well, who look forward to this every year.” The Cohn restaurants will also extend Restaurant Week through January 29.

Whisknladle in La Jolla has not seen any decrease due to the weather. “We’ve been at capacity every night, even overbooked," says owner Arturo Kassel. "If it weren’t for Restaurant Week, this weather might have hurt us, but the special menu and pricing give diners the extra impetus to go and get out of the house. We’ll probably see 1,000 new patrons this week. ”

Cucina Urbana has seen a small percentage of weather-related cancellations, but, according to one of the hostesses there, the effect of the rain is more in people arriving late for reservations and not being in a big hurry to leave.

On Shelter Island, Humphreys manager Shawna Aguierre is reporting “a great turnout,” as is JSix at the Hotel Solamar downtown, reporting that the restaurant “has been packed every night” of the event.

For a list of which restaurants will extend their special menus through January 29, go to the San Diego Restaurant Week website.

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SIGN OF THE TIMES: Thursday night, Side Bar, which was not participating in Restaurant Week, held a Trash Bag party. It was to encourage patrons to come out in bad weather. Anyone wearing a plastic bag got a $5 drink special all night.

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  • City: San Diego
  • Name: San Diego Restaurant Week