‘Dine Out Boston’ returns, restaurant rebounds are expected this spring

By Shana Singh
Boston University News Service 

“Dine Out Boston” returned this month, running from March 13-26 across the Boston area, giving diners a chance to enjoy prix fixe menus at various price points for lunch and dinner at participating restaurants. 

“Dine Out Boston is the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau’s signature culinary program, a biannual event spotlighting Boston’s amazing food scene,” wrote David O’Donnell, vice president of strategic communications at GBCVB, in an email. “The program allows restaurant operators to bring in new patrons and for diners to try new spots at great value.”

The GBCVB typically holds the two-week event twice a year, in March and August. Formerly known as “Restaurant Week Boston,” the program began in 2001 with about 30 restaurants, lasting only a week, growing to around 150 restaurants since, according to O’Donnell. 

At participating eateries, lunch prices are $22, $27, or $32, while dinner prices are $36, $41, or $46. According to the Dine Out Boston website, prices are per person and exclude beverages, tax, and gratuity. Each restaurant can select one of three price options and create an accompanying, multi-course menu. 

“We want this to be a true springboard to springtime recovery for our beleaguered restaurant industry,” wrote O’Donnell, commenting on his goal to assist struggling restaurants in March.

The return of Boston’s outdoor dining on April 1 will also boost businesses resulting in increased demands. 

“For the past two years, we’ve seen how outdoor dining activates public spaces, helps small businesses, and creates connected communities for everyone,” said Mayor Michelle Wu in a statement published by the mayor’s office. “I’m excited to bring outdoor dining back this spring to support our small businesses and continue to make public spaces more accessible and enjoyable for residents, business owners, and visitors across our neighborhoods.” 

However, outdoor dining will not return to the North End until May 1, and will require restaurants to pay a $7,500 fee to participate, as announced in a March 17 community meeting.

As reported by the Boston Herald, a portion of Hanover Street will become a one-way, allowing cars to drive out of the neighborhood, but not into it. According to city officials, 130 resident parking spaces occupied by patio space will become available again. 

For now, restaurants in the North End and other Boston neighborhoods can submit the outdoor dining program applications. Restaurants that participated last year must reapply for 2022. 

La Voile, a French restaurant with locations on Newbury Street and in Brookline, has participated in Dine Out Boston for the past 12 years. According to Jerome Bergere, maitre d’hotel at La Voile, its prix fixe menu usually includes its most popular dishes, such as foie gras.

When asked if he will participate in this year’s outdoor dining program, Bergere responded, “Most definitely. It has a huge economic impact, trying to catch back a year of disaster.”

Other participating restaurants include Trattoria Il Panino, Union Oyster House, Rochambeau, Bricco, Summer Shack Boston, Bar ‘Cino, Russell House Tavern, and Antico Forno. The complete list can be found online here.

Reservations can be made at dineoutboston.com or by contacting individual restaurants directly.

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