If you don't give restaurants enough attention, they get antsy. And in Miami, when restaurants get antsy in large numbers, you get a restaurant week.
Attention is exactly what food businesses down south lack in the summer slow season. Its gaping absence has resulted in Coral Gables Restaurant Week in June, and Miami Spice in August and September. Now, Doral has snatched July for its own.
"July is the slowest month for Doral, and since we didn't want to interfere with events in Coral Gables or Miami, it couldn't be better scheduled," said President of the Doral Chamber of Commerce Manny Sarmiento. "Doral has a selection of restaurants from all over the world, and we want to showcase it."
Despite its title -- Doral Restaurant Week -- the event is a month-long exploit. It is modeled exactly like Miami Spice: set prices for specialty menus with limited choices. Doral has over 200 restaurants, not counting fast-food joints and chains, and so far 14 are participating in the promotion, including BrazaViva Churrascaria, Baru Urbano, and Umami Asian Cuisine.
The prix fixe lunch options start at $15, and dinner at $22, and include an appetizer, entrée and dessert at most locations.
However, despite the city's efforts, Doral restaurants and residents haven't taken much notice yet.
"We haven't gotten anyone to come in asking about it yet," said participating restaurant Divino Ceviche's manager Leo Palbott. " I tell my servers to mention it, and we just got in a poster, but I haven't seen much response around."
Red Zone Sports Bar & Grill, another participating restaurant, only joined the event a week ago, and hasn't yet gotten any takers for the special menu. "We haven't seen anyone yet for it," said manager Monica Rodriguez.
"I've gotten some calls asking about the menu, but, as far as I've seen, no one has come in for it," said manager of Umami Jay Lam, who joined the Doral Restaurant Week bandwagon at the start of the month.
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A slow response toward the promotion's inauguration is not the summer's biggest surprise, but there's still a month to go, so hope lingers. A successful restaurant week comes with time, after all, and the restaurants on board are pretty snazzy. Keep an eye out for participating Doral Restaurant Week locations, or visit tasteofdoral.com/.