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Bargain week helped boost restaurant economy

8:48 PM, Apr 27, 2010   |    comments
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Thanks to the week of bargain pricing, hundreds of thousands of people ate out. It was the largest dining event in Denver's history and at Fogo de Chao, they averaged about 1,000 people each day.

"We got a lot of first-time people, so now they are coming back. So that was great for us," Piccini said.

His restaurant opened in the middle of last year's recession and it was tough for awhile.

"When they have to cut something on their budget, I think they going to cut the restaurant," he said.

Fogo de Chao is one of more than 280 restaurants that were part of Denver Restaurant Week. The idea was to offer a good meal for a good deal.

"I think people are tired of the recession. I think people wanted to get out and have some fun," Rich Grant with the Denver Convention and Visitor's Bureau said.

Grant says Denver Restaurant Week began five years ago to improve the city's reputation for fine dining.

This year, it was a huge financial boost for the local restaurant industry; Colorado restaurants are expected to lead the nation this year for sales growth. It seems, at least for them, the worst may be over.

"I think everything is going back to normal. People, they are going out and spending money," Piccini said.

Diners are still not spending as much as they once did. Still, nationwide, the news is promising. Many food chains, including McDonald's, Maggianos and the Cheesecake Factory, are all reporting better sales so far this year.

There is another reason to check out some Denver restaurants on Thursday, April 29. Many are participating in the Dining Out For Life program to benefit Project Angel Heart. For more information, visit www.diningoutforlife.com/denver.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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