By Matthew Lewis, Contributing Reporter
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA – The fifth annual Downtown Delray Beach Restaurant Month will run from Saturday, August 1st, through Monday, August 31st and aims to showcase the wide-array of culinary experiences in Delray, providing locals and visitors with opportunities to sample restaurants, cafés, and fast-casual eateries at special prices.
Laura Simon, Executive Director, Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA), explains how the food event started and evolved. “For eight years we had done Tastemakers which was a two-day tasting type of dining event,” she said.
Adding how from 2016 to 2019 the event grew. “Downtown’s culinary scene had evolved, more restaurants wanted to participate and we wanted to provide them with the opportunity to showcase their best and Restaurant Week was created.”
Given the challenging times brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the DDA and participating restaurants have adapted, and the fifth annual event extended to a full month. Now with social distancing and safety protocols in place, restaurants will offer both in-house and to-go specials, and virtual in-home and in person (up to ten) culinary events.
Simon explains some additional changes this year. “There are more restaurant participants than in past years – and restaurants that had never been involved before, the past four years included culinary experiences and events inside the restaurants – this year restaurants are providing virtual at-home options.”
To join in on the event, diners simply select their choice from the list of participating restaurants. Reservations are strongly encouraged but there are no passes, tickets or coupons required. There is also an additional DDB Restaurant Month Bingo promotion where participants can check the boxes of a bingo card with multiple ways to win.
Craig O’Keefe, Managing Partner of Clique Hospitality who operate Johnnie Brown’s said “Restaurant Month is a great way for guests to be reintroduced to dining at Johnnie Brown’s. […], with our re-engineered menu, we are quickly becoming known for great food as well and Restaurant Month gives our community a fantastic way to experience all of it.”
O’Keefe added that they are “offering a great Mix & Match prix-fixe menu for the entire month of August. Guests can select one app or one dessert from a list of our most popular items on the newly-improved Johnnie Brown’s menu for only $18. They can also add a domestic draft, house wine or well cocktail for only $3 more.”
This year it is more important than ever to support local businesses, to help Delray Beach get through the pandemic and keep the community’s favorite eateries open. Laura Simon explains what businesses have been doing. “All of the restaurants have pivoted with innovative approaches,” she says.
“Including plexiglass dividers; creating tables in spaces that didn’t exist before such as tables next to the bar; even more take out and delivery; creating longer dining spaces on the sidewalks with restaurants partnering with retail neighbors next to them and expanding.”
More information about participating restaurants and promotions are available on the DDA web site and social media. The Delray Beach Downtown Development Authority’s stated mission is to ‘stimulate, enhance and sustain the economic vitality of Downtown Delray Beach and the quality of life enjoyed by locals and visitors.’