By Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
Newport Beach's fifth annual Restaurant Week, a culinary celebration that offers gourmet prix fixe menus at bargain prices, will take place from Jan. 21 to Jan. 27.
The concept has been hugely successful since Restaurant Week's inception in New York back in 1992, when Tom Zagat and restaurateur Joe Baum, of Four Seasons fame, dreamed it up as a goodwill gesture to the 15,000 reporters coming to the city to cover the Democratic National Convention. The idea has now spread internationally and, in some places, Restaurant Week has become Restaurant Month. Costa Mesa is celebrating its version during all of January and Orange County Restaurant Week is set from Jan. 27 to March 5.
Especially now, after two years of a recession, restaurants are looking for ways to bring in new customers and entice old ones back. Prix fixe menus have been a staple in Europe for a very long time, where people know they can eat out at a reasonable price.