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Restaurants ready to show the love this weekend

3 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

Dining out is part of the Valentine’s Day celebration plan for nearly 90% of respondents to a national OpenTable survey released this week, and restaurants are getting ready to celebrate love with special meals, from heart-shaped pizzas for a cause at Boston’s and just because at Papa John’s, to fine dining at restaurants like The Modern in New York City, where couples lucky enough to snag a first-seating reservation on Sunday can also sign up for private tours of the attached Museum of Modern Art.

Last-minute types are likely to have a host of new options for celebrating this year. Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday, eateries are preparing for a four-day weekend of serving the cause of romance with special meals and love-themed desserts, providing more day and time options for perennial procrastinators.

Most of those planning to dine out for the holiday expect to do so on Saturday, according to OpenTable’s survey, and 12% said their celebrations will include more than one restaurant meal during the weekend. Even more encouraging: 90% of those planning to dine out say they’ll spend the same amount or more than they did last year.

Eateries are providing more romantic options for all budgets, including a growing trend among casual and quickservice restaurants to make the holiday more romantic with candles, white tablecloths and new twists on signature dishes such as heart-shaped waffles at Waffle House. White Castle is keeping the menu the same, but once again taking reservations for romantic Valentine’s Day meals on a budget.

On the other end of the spectrum, fine-dining establishments in cities from those determined by Yelp to be most romantic (Spokane, Wash.) to least romantic (Hamilton, Ontario) are booking reservations and creating special menus.  Yelp’s research also revealed that Pittsburgh residents were more likely than those in other cities to become engaged for Valentine’s Day, a tradition that’s often carried out in restaurants.

Sweets for the cynical

Romance-minded restaurants are coming out with more new sweet treats this year, from heart-shaped doughnuts at Dunkin’ to Swirly Grams that let sweeties send the gift of Pinkberry frozen yogurt.  But there’s also a place for the cynics and curmudgeons among us, according to an L.A. Times blog post.

Dan Mattern and Roxana Jullapat, the owners of Ammo in Los Angeles have set aside Sunday as an unapologetic celebration for Valentine’s Day haters. “If this Sunday night you find yourself looking for a romantic spot to bring your honey, please stay away from AMMO, because this Sunday we have every intention to dwell in V-Day cynicism and cook from the gut rather than from the heart,” the pair wrote in a news release.

Of course, the restaurant will revert to more traditional themes on the holiday itself, with a romantic prix fixe menu on Monday.

Is Valentine’s Day typically a big deal for your restaurant? How do you show the love? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image via NadyaPhoto via iStock