OGDEN — It’s a week so chock-full of cuisine that it simply can’t be contained within a single seven-day period.
The seventh annual Ogden Restaurant Week opens today and runs through April 13, offering 10 full days of fixed lunch and dinner specials at 21 restaurants in Ogden — most in the downtown area.
“It’s a week, with a couple of bonus days,” explains Sydnie Furton, director of marketing and communications for Visit Ogden, which organizes the annual festive feedbag. “A lot of people look forward to this week. And a lot of people wait to eat out until restaurant week, then visit as many restaurants as they can during the week.”
Way ahead of you, amateur gourmands. We’ve already done the math:
There are 21 eateries participating in this year’s Ogden Restaurant Week. So if you visit a different restaurant for lunch AND dinner each day, you’ll only have to eat a second lunch (or dinner) on one of those days in order to sample it all.
Of course, if you happen to like a menu item so much that you opt to return for an encore in the following day or two, that throws our whole system off and you’re on your own, people.
For restaurant week, participating locally owned businesses offer select multi-course meals for lunch and dinner, at a set price. A two-course lunch is $10, while a three-course dinner is $17. Most of the restaurants also offer gluten-free and vegetarian options.
Furton says she comes as close to eating the full circuit as she possibly can.
“I really try hard to make it to all of the restaurants during restaurant week, so it can be tricky,” she said. “But we all rally in the office, and go out to lunch almost daily.”
If you do decide to go the full Tour de Ogden route — 21 restaurants, 10 days — it’s going to run you $567 a person (plus tax and gratuity). But hey, it’s only money, right?
Plus, you don’t have to wash a single dish.
Furton says this year’s celebration represents a wide variety of foods, from Asian (Tona Sushi, Bangkok Garden Thai Cuisine, Tokyo Station Teppanyaki & Sushi, Thai Curry Kitchen) to Italian (Rovali’s Ristorante Italiano, Zucca Trattoria) and everything in between (Smokey’s BBQ & Grill, Harley & Bucks, Union Grill, Prairie Schooner, Slackwater Pub & Pizzeria, Sonora Grill, Warrens Craft Burger).
A couple of restaurants — New Sun, and Pepito’s Philly Cheesesteaks — are new to this year’s event. Furton says Ogden Restaurant Week offers area residents an opportunity to eat local ingredients at locally owned restaurants.
“Diners will discover locally-sourced menu items, (such as) yak meatballs sourced out of Idaho right over the border,” Furton said.
“They’re delicious,” she said. “If you’ve never had them, I highly recommend it. I get them as an appetizer when I go to Hearth on 25th.”
Sometimes, restaurants will try out new menu items during restaurant week, according to Furton. For example, last year Lucky Slice Pizza offered pasta.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t stick,” Furton said. “But this year they’re doing sandwiches, and that’s not something you usually see at Lucky Slice.”
Furton said Hearth on 25th likes to take Ogden Restaurant Week one step further. In addition to the standard two-course lunch and three-course dinner, the restaurant is also offering a special six-course meal for $40.
“If that’s something you haven’t experienced — a six-course meal — I would recommend it,” Furton said. “I feel like it’s an experience everybody needs to have.”
And, she argues, that six-course offering is “incredibly affordable.” Furton tells the story of when she and her husband were on their honeymoon in Jackson, Wyoming, and they decided to celebrate with a multi-course dinner.
“It was like 200 bucks, and we left the restaurant still hungry,” she recalls. “We ended up getting a frozen pizza at the grocery store later.”
But with the six courses from Hearth on 25th — or any of the other offerings from restaurants during the next 10 days — Furton says, “You’re not going to leave hungry.”
Several bars are included in restaurant week — including Lighthouse Lounge, Angry Goat, Harp and Hound.
“Restaurant week is a way to show that these bars have excellent food, in addition to excellent drinks,” she said.
Many of the local restaurants involved also carry local spirits from New World Distillery and Ogden’s Own Distillery, as well as local craft beers from Roosters Brewing, UTOG Brewing Co., and Talisman Brewing Company.
Furton said Visit Ogden is running contests on social media, randomly awarding gift cards to those who tag Ogden Restaurant Week on Facebook or share their photos to Instagram using @OgdenRestaurantWeek and #OgdenRestaurantWeek.
And what businesses are the gift cards for?
Why, local restaurants, of course.