When COVID-19 threatened the very core of the food and beverage industry with closures in mid-March, restaurant owners responded in turn — showing their strength by quickly adapting their business models to offer take-out, curbside and delivery options, and the widely embraced cocktails to go. The local community showed up, too, in support of these very restaurants that make up the Valley’s dynamic culinary scene.
With the mandates, however, one of the most beloved culinary events of the year, Arizona Restaurant Week, was placed on hold while Arizona Takeout Weeks stepped in to encourage continued dining support. Meanwhile, the Arizona Restaurant Association created Arizona Restaurant Strong, a relief fund to provide funding for restaurant workers that found themselves immediately out of work due to closures surrounding the virus.
Now, the Arizona Restaurant Association is pleased to announce that Arizona Restaurant Weeks: Dine in or Take Out (ARW) will take place from Friday, June 19 through Sunday, June 28 and Friday, September 18 through Sunday, September 27.
“We are so grateful for the support of our local dining community in the weeks that followed restaurant closures in March,” says Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO Steve Chucri. “The quick creation of Arizona Takeout Weeks and Arizona Restaurant Strong efforts could not have been possible without them. As Arizona Restaurant Weeks returns in a modified format to include dine-in, take out and liquor to go options, we are hopeful that our wonderful community of food enthusiasts will continue to show their support in any way they feel comfortable.”
During the new Arizona Restaurant Weeks: Dine in or Take Out, participating restaurants will follow all CDC guidelines for opening and social distancing, whether dining in or taking out. The ARA is anticipating more than 200 of the Valley’s most beloved restaurants — from five-star fine dining establishments to locally owned and operated “mom and pop” hidden gems — to get involved.
As in years past, participating restaurants around the state will offer culinary adventurers dedicated menus that showcase local chefs’ creative talents through innovative dishes. Featuring a unique tasting opportunity apart from their regular menus, restaurants will offer three-course, prix-fixe menus for just $33 or $44 per person. Wine pairings to enhance each course are offered at some establishments for an additional cost.
New and returning restaurants are welcome and encouraged to participate in this year’s ARW events. Applications can be completed online at arizonarestaurantweek.com/restaurant-participation. Diners can view a complete list of participating restaurants for Arizona Restaurant Weeks: Dine in or Take Out online at arizonarestaurantweek.com. The list is updated and restaurants’ ARW menus are added as participants continue to join.