#DigOutDineOut Boston Is Happening Now: Support Boston Restaurants

Dupe DigOutDineOutIf you live in the Boston area, you already know that more than eight feet of snow have fallen on the city and surrounding towns. In fact, according to an article in the Boston Globe, it is the second snowiest winter on record. On top of that, severely frigid temperatures have gripped the region. All of this means that the snow still lingers on sidewalks and in streets, public transportation remains somewhat snarled, and parking spots have become as scarce as a bottle of 23-year-old family reserve Pappy Van Winkle — which has been bad news for your favorite restaurants.

The good news is that they have joined together to entice diners to support #DigOutDineOut! From special offers, such as $25 unlimited sushi at Empire to $2 tacos and $5 glasses of wine at Granary Tavern, plus on-site extras at many establishments, we can guarantee you’ll be treated like a VIP if you frequent a restaurant in the region during the #DigOutDineOut campaign.

#DigOutDineOut is the brainchild of Kevin Long, executive chef and partner at Big Night Entertainment Group (Empire, GEM, Red Lantern). “These historic storms have walloped Boston and buried us in snow, but we are hardy New Englanders,” said Long. “We all may compete, but we also band together to support each other in times of need. We are all in this together, and these deals are a great way for us all to start to bounce back.”

Some of the hottest restaurants have been hit the hardest due to their locations. At Coppa, where a three-hour wait for walk-ins isn’t unusual, they had a successful Valentine’s Day, buoyed by locals who took advantage of last-minute cancellations, but now, says general manager Gina-Marie Ciccotelli, “We are definitely back to always having open tables. It’s a huge hit.” The staff at the South End restaurant, she notes, are very happy to be at work, “But they’re not making money, so it’s so hard on them, too. Everybody in here — it’s their career. This is their liveliehood. They’re here, and they’re ready to serve.” For diners who do come to Coppa, Ciccotelli and her staff are ready to show their appreciation in ways big and small, one of which is a one-of-its-kind, four-course pasta flight for $45 per person.

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10 Raves for Chili on National Chili Day

Texas Red Chili BlogYippee ki-yay, It’s National Chili Day! I like to think of chili as a relative of cassoulet, a dish which sparks as much debate among French chefs and home cooks as chili does among pretty much everyone in North America. Blame the various styles, such as green chili, Texas red, and Cincinnati, as well as the array of so-called ingredients people swear by, from coffee, chocolate, and peanut butter to beer,  pickle juice, and sriracha for the culinary quarrels — not to mention the beans vs. no beans issue. However it’s prepared, though, chili is beloved on a national scale. Despite its reputation as a cornerstone of summer cook-offs, chili reaches its highest greatest popularity in the winter months, according to Google Trends.

As we celebrate this soul-warming dish on its special day, read on for some raves about chili of all flavors and styles at restaurants around the U.S.

* American Cut, New York, New York: “Some of the highlights were lobster chili — spicy, sweet-flavored lobster. Had to resist eating the rest of the sauce with toast to save room for the rest of the meal.”

* Beatrice & Woodsley, Denver, Colorado: “Everything I had was superb — kudos to the chef! The pulled pork green chili was excellent; who knew that a pickled egg would add so much flavor? A new addition to my recipe.”

* Chili U, Libertyville, Illinois: “Despite the name, this place has a lot of non-chili items, and several very flavorful vegetarian choices. We love the idea of ‘build your own’ chili dinner (you choose the extra ingredients for the base and toppings to be added to 4 choices of chili) and the unique chili recipes in the ‘we make’ part of the menu, especially the Thai shrimp chili.”

* District Commons, Washington, D.C.: “The Texas chili was true Texas chili without beans. The side plates of onion, sour cream, and cheese made it possible to tailor the add-ons to your liking. The tiny star-shaped cornbread was creative and visually delightful.”

* Food 101, Atlanta, Georgia: “If you get a chance to go while the restaurant is celebrating its 15-year anniversary, be sure to try the prix fixe menu. My companion did and she was treated to a lovely short rib chili topped with cilantro cream, not to mention fall-off-the-bone ribs. And, I can’t end without mentioning the perfectly portioned, delicious biscuits and slightly sweet cornbread. I’ll be going back!”

* Grillstone, Scotch Plains, New Jersey: “The oysters were excellent. The sushi appetizer was phenomenal. The Angus chili was mesmerizing.”

* Kenny’s Smoke House, Plano, Texas: “Wow!! The brisket chili and jalapeño cornbread are amazing. Might have just ruined chili any other way for me.”Continue Reading

And the Award Goes to…: #DinersChoice Winners for Best Restaurants Collect Their Trophies

Late last year, we revealed the winners of the  2014 Diners’ Choice Awards for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in America, and since then, we’ve been busy traveling around the nation to present the honorees with their engraved All-Clad awards in person.

“We are so honored and humbled by this acknowledgement from OpenTable Diners” said co-owners Ariana and Andres Fernandez of Ariana in Bend, Oregon. “Making sure our customers have an exceptional meal with incredible service is our mission at Ariana and we are so very pleased our customers feel that and have responded with such high praise.”

It is our great pleasure to once again highlight these amazing culinary professionals — and to provide them with a rare opportunity to take a break from their busy days in front and back of the house for a well-deserved pat on the back. Diners, meet some of your winners, and book a table at one of these top restaurants today!

#MyFoodieValentine Giveaway: That’s a Wrap!

Valentine’s Day is behind us (although you might not know it based on the amount of chocolate we’re still consuming), but before we bid a fond farewell to the most romantic day of the year, join us as we fete the My Foodie Valentine giveaway winners.

We received thousands of entries on Instagram and Twitter, ranging from pictures of delicious dishes to charming photos of the favorite foodie in your life. Congratulations, Danielle ThomasJhomalys MoranSharon GoughLauren SpinelliRosa NaranjoMarco Maurício MalkomesKwadwo BoatengLiliana SoileauChristina Copeland, and Lisa Nguyen.

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Thanks to everyone who entered, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Google+Instagram, and Twitter for future giveaways.

2015 James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant + Chef Semifinalists

JBF Awards LogoOscars, schmoscars! Here at OpenTable, we’re all about the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards. This week, the James Beard Foundation released their list of semifinalists for nominations. Click here for a full list of nominated chefs, restaurants, and restaurateurs, including the extensive regional nominations. The final nominees will be revealed on March 24th. Winners will be announced on May 4th at the awards ceremony, which is being held in Chicago for the first time ever. Congratulations to the semi-finalists (and to you, too, Windy City denizens) — and best of luck to all those who have made it this far.

Nominated restaurants include:

Best New Restaurant
Abe Fisher, Philadelphia
Alden & Harlow, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Bâtard, New York, New York
Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, Las Vegas
Cosme, New York, New York
Edmund’s Oast, Charleston, South Carolina
Fiola Mare, Washington, D.C.
The Grey, Savannah, Georgia
Lusca, Atlanta, Georgia
Maude, Beverly Hills, California
Parachute, Chicago, Illinois
The Progress, San Francisco, California
San Salvaje, Dallas, Texas
Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Townsend, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Outstanding Restaurant
Acquerello, San Francisco, California
Bacchanalia, Atlanta. Georgia
La Belle Vie, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York
Bluestem, Kansas City, Missouir
Canlis, Seattle, Washington
Fore Street, Portland, Maine
Fork, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colorado
Greens Restaurant, San Francisco, California
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
Per Se, New York, New York
Spiaggia, Chicago, Illinois
The Spotted Pig, New York, New York
Vidalia, Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Service
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