What to Know – NBC 7 San Diego

They say it’s better late than never, right? Such is the case for San Diego Restaurant Week, which returns to the bellies and hearts of locals soon, just as pandemic-era restrictions continue to ease for eateries in San Diego County.

Normally, the biannual, 8-day dining event takes place in January and September. But, two months ago – with San Diego County in the purple tier and restaurants restricted to takeout and outdoor dining only – it wasn’t a great time for the local event to shine.

Now, with San Diego County in the orange tier, things have changed a bit.

Under the state’s color-coded, tiered plan for reopening businesses and activities across counties, the orange tier means restaurants can offer both outdoor and indoor dining – and at a higher capacity, which is 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer.

It’s the moment San Diegans have been waiting for – the orange tier. NBC 7’s Audra Stafford has more on how local business owners are reacting to expanded reopenings.

So, San Diego Restaurant Week (SDRW) had opted to deliver a springtime edition of the event, which runs from April 11 to April 18.

In pre-pandemic times, the 8-day dining event would showcase 180+ San Diego-area restaurants offering prix fixe lunch and dinner deals. It’s a way for locals to try that new restaurant they’re been hearing about without spending too much – and a way for restaurants to try to bring in new customers.

This time around, this edition of SDRW features 100 participating restaurants, spanning all parts of the county and all kinds of cuisine. The prix fixe formula stands, with SDRW restaurants offering special three-course menus ranging from $20 to $60 per person and/or two-course lunch deals ranging from $10 to $25 per person.

Two bars that had to reinvent themselves during the pandemic are seeing their changes pay off now that we’re in the Orange Tier. NBC 7’s Dave Summers has the story.

Organizers of the event will be talking about it Thursday morning at a news briefing, joined by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and some restaurant owners.

Organizers say this year’s event is more needed than ever after the extreme hit the restaurant industry has taken during the coronavirus pandemic.

“San Diego Restaurant Week arrives just in time to spark new life into these impacted businesses and bring our San Diego culinary community back to business,” SDRW organizers said.

As always, tickets aren’t required for SDRW, but reservations – a pandemic-era staple – are recommended. When you visit the restaurant of your choosing, ask for the SDRW menu and you’re ready to roll.

Starting Wednesday, San Diego restaurants can operate indoors at 50% capacity, or 200 people, whichever is fewer — but table distancing and mask wearing must continue, reports NBC 7’s Allie Raffa.

Like so many events in San Diego County over the past year, SDRW adapted to the times of the COVID-19 pandemic in September 2020. Instead of hosting a traditional SDRW, an event called “Dine Diego” temporarily took over the fall edition of the foodie affair, focused on showcasing local restaurants offering outdoor dining and to-go options, since that’s what was allowed for restaurants at the time.

SDRW is presented by the California Restaurant Association, which is partnering with county public health officials to ensure that restaurants in San Diego County are safe, sanitary and adhering to all current COVID-19 safety modifications.

San Diego Restaurant Week, a beloved annual September dining event, will take a break in its traditional form as public health restrictions continue across San Diego’s restaurant scene. NBC 7’s Steven Luke has more.

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