I love the idea of Devour Downtown–over 40 downtown Indy restaurants with special tasting menus for either $30 per person or $30 per couple for two weeks twice a year. What’s not to like? Hold that thought…
Let’s start with what there is to like. Most of the menus include an appetizer, entree and dessert for far less than what you would typically pay. So it’s a great opportunity to try a new restaurant, or to have a meal at a favorite restaurant for a great price. So, what’s not to like?
After dining at many restaurants during the past 3 or 4 Devours, I’ve decided that just like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. Most restaurants offer smaller than usual portions. That in and of itself doesn’t bother me. But it has been my experience, and that of many others I have spoken to, that the service is also “smaller” than usual. I have had more than one server be borderline rude when I asked for the Devour Downtown menu. And even if they are pleasant, there just seems to be an attitude that Devour is something they must simply put up with twice a year. So, you get what you pay for–smaller portions and less service.
The real problem with this is that you’re not getting the full dining experience of the restaurant. And if it’s your first visit, you could easily decide that it would not be worth it to go back to that restaurant and pay regular menu prices. To be fair, some of the restaurants have figured this out, and they go out of their way to offer the full experience despite the reduced price. Capital Grille is one.
All of this being said, I still like Devour Downtown and think it’s a great thing for this city. But if you go, and don’t have a great experience, I urge you to give the restaurant another try. Generally speaking, most restaurants are “worth” their regular menu prices. Personally, I’d rather pay more for an excellent dinner than pay less for a “just okay” one.
What do you think? Leave a comment to tell me about your Devour Downtown experience.