Dine O’Round Delights Utah’s Tastebuds

Once again, a number of Salt Lake City’s restaurants are slashing prices on special lunch and dinner options as part of one of the most popular dining events in the state: Dine O’Round. 

Held in spring and fall, Dine O’Round was founded in 2002 by the Downtown Alliance, a 17-year-old nonprofit organization that promotes businesses and properties in the 40 block area between North Temple, 500 W, 400 S and 200 E. Andrew Wallace, the Alliance’s marketing director, said founders patterned the two week celebration of haute cuisine on similar events in such metropolises as New York City and Denver.

“A bunch of restaurants got together and said they want to do it,” he said. And after visiting organizers of the Big Apple’s event to see how they organized and administered it, these restaurants opened the original Dine O’Round six years ago.

Like many of Utah’s cultural events, Dine O’Round has grown from a few interested eateries into 31 participants this season. Last year, according to Wallace, 35 participated, but a few of these have since closed their doors permanently or temporarily to re-do their menus.

Regardless of the restaurant’s style, cuisine or crowd, the one thing that all Dine O’Round participants have in common is price. Every night during Sept. 12—27, restaurants will offer a three course dinner (typically an appetizer, entrée and desert) for $15—30. Some restaurants, including those only open for lunch service, will also offer two course lunches for $10.

“It’s a great way for people to discover new restaurants and visit old favorites,” said Wallace. Patrons like the event, he added because of the variety and the prices. Restaurants like Dine O’Round because it brings in new patrons – particularly during the fall slump after school starts and vacations end but before the first heavy snow ushers in the ski season.

“What’s really kind of neat,” he added, “is that sometimes people also come in and decide to have something else on the menu that isn’t part of Dine O’Round, so there are additional benefits for restaurants.”

Two new restaurants have joined this season’s group, including Iggy’s Sports Grill and Tucanos Brazilian Grill. The Metropolitan, a restaurant specializing in handcrafted New American cuisine, has also opened its doors for $10 lunches. QSaltLake and The QSaltLake Pages supporters such as Bambara Restaurant (located at the Hotel Monaco), Cedars of Lebanon, Squatters Pub Brewery and restaurants in the Gastronomy, Inc. group (Market Street Grill, Market Street Oyster Bar and New Yorker) will also participate.

And what is Wallace’s favorite? The Melting Pot, which specializes in fondue.

“It’s wonderful, oh my gosh!” he said. “We were there for like three hours.”

For a complete list of restaurants visit downtownslc.com/events/dine-o-round.htm. Dine O’Round offerings can be fixed or change daily, depending on the restaurant.

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