Thoughts on Devour Downtown

1 Feb

I love the idea of Devour Downtown–over 40 downtown Indy restaurants with special tasting menus for either $30 per person or $30 per couple for two weeks twice a year.  What’s not to like?  Hold that thought…

Let’s start with what there is to like.  Most of the menus include an appetizer, entree and dessert for far less than what you would typically pay.  So it’s a great opportunity to try a new restaurant, or to have a meal at a favorite restaurant for a great price.  So, what’s not to like?

After dining at many restaurants during the past 3 or 4 Devours, I’ve decided that just like everything else in life, you get what you pay for.  Most restaurants offer smaller than usual portions.  That in and of itself doesn’t bother me.  But it has been my experience, and that of many others I have spoken to, that the service is also “smaller” than usual.  I have had more than one server be borderline rude when I asked for the Devour Downtown menu.  And even if they are pleasant, there just seems to be an attitude that Devour is something they must simply put up with twice a year.  So, you get what you pay for–smaller portions and less service.

The real problem with this is that you’re not getting the full dining experience of the restaurant.  And if it’s your first visit, you could easily decide that it would not be worth it to go back to that restaurant and pay regular menu prices.  To be fair, some of the restaurants have figured this out, and they go out of their way to offer the full experience despite the reduced price.  Capital Grille is one.

All of this being said, I still like Devour Downtown and think it’s a great thing for this city.  But if you go, and don’t have a great experience, I urge you to give the restaurant another try.  Generally speaking, most restaurants are “worth” their regular menu prices.  Personally, I’d rather pay more for an excellent dinner than pay less for a “just okay” one.

What do you think?  Leave a comment to tell me about your Devour Downtown experience.

13 Responses to “Thoughts on Devour Downtown”

  1. Joe February 1, 2011 at 12:20 PM #

    Thank you for the warning. We will be going to Sahm this weekend and I am hoping for a good experience none the less.

    • Theresa Johnson February 1, 2011 at 12:55 PM #

      We had a good experience at Sahm’s last week. I haven’t had a chance to post my review yet. Let me know what you think!

  2. Scott Brechmacher February 1, 2011 at 3:50 PM #

    This critique is spot on.

    I liked the “idea” of Devour Downtown when I first heard about it, but to call most of the offers “deals” is misleading. You DO get what you paid for, and if you’re going to a restaurant where a typical check for 2 people is $80 to $100, then you are going to have surprisingly little menu options and your meal will seem just as expensive as it ever does at that restaurant.

    I don’t go out of my way for Devour Downtown anymore. If I want to try a place, I suck it up and throw in for the full experience.

    • Theresa Johnson February 1, 2011 at 5:08 PM #

      Thanks for the response, Scott. I’m always happier when “I suck it up and throw in for the full experience”. Well said!

  3. Grace Colette February 2, 2011 at 8:43 AM #

    I love devour indy as well and have come to the same conclusion. Trying some new restaurant, even if it’s a little less than their normal “fare” is worth it to me. I’ve always found the food to be good-to-excellent and the service was equal. Sometimes I wondered if I was just over sensitive and looking for a diminished response from the server, when there wasn’t one in reality. And, I agree with the Capitol Grill being the best there is, in both food and service.

    • Theresa Johnson February 2, 2011 at 9:42 AM #

      Another place that I was really impressed with during Devour Downtown is Sahm’s Tavern. Although not as fancy as The Capitol Grille, the food, atmosphere and service are great. Oh, and they have their own HUGE parking lot!

  4. wibia February 2, 2011 at 10:57 PM #

    Agree 100%. There are some great deals to be found, but there are some menus that will save you about $5-$8 and it is just not worth it. I rather eat outside the menu and get what I want. I like the event and it is great for downtown, but choose wisely.

  5. Kim February 5, 2011 at 1:04 PM #

    I had a great experience at Morton’s Steakhouse. The service was excellent and the food was perfect. The portions were big and there was no skimping with this meal. I would recommend giving it a try. I did splurge on the pineapple infused martini, but it was totally worth it!

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  2. Devour Downtown Starts Today! « Indulge In Indy - August 8, 2011

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