A year ago when Dine the Couve was merely a first course – a pilot program that was limited to a handful of downtown Vancouver restaurants – Debbie Belden saw the event and had one question: What about us?
Belden, owner of Felida’s Farrar’s Bistro and Bar and the newly minted Sixth Avenue Bistro in Hazel Dell, wanted to be a part of the event.
“I like community-supported programs … and when I had inquired last year, they said they were only offering it (Dine the Couve) downtown,” Belden said. “So, I asked if we could participate, too.”
Belden apparently wasn’t alone.
Dine the Couve proved so popular in its first year that the list of restaurants and bars participating this month has grown from 14 restaurants and six breweries to 22 restaurants and five breweries and taprooms this year.
“I think that everyone we’ve talked to is very excited to be part of it,” said Jacob Schmidt, the director of communications for Visit Vancouver USA, the official destination marketing organization for Vancouver and surrounding areas.
“Just the growth we’ve seen from last year has been great,” Schmidt said. “It went really well (a year ago), so we decided to expand it.”
The participating restaurants are providing a three-part menu for $23 (in addition to their regular menu), which may include any combination of soup, salad, appetizer, entrée, dessert or craft beverage. The five participating breweries and taprooms are offering $3 drink specials during October.
“It really provides a great value and is also a great way for consumers to enjoy new places and try places they wouldn’t try otherwise,” Schmidt said. “And it allows a restaurant to showcase what they’re good at.”
Belden’s Sixth Avenue Bistro is offering spinach flatbread, roasted beet salad with local chevre and shrimp scampi with garlic toast. The offerings at Belden’s other restaurant, Farrar’s Bistro and Bar, is decidedly different, offering two glasses of premium wine and their Figgy Piggy, which is fig preserve, roasted fig, prosciutto, provolone picante and arugula on naan bread.
“One thing we pride ourselves on is that we’re a made-from-scratch kitchen,” Belden said. “We make our own sauces and rubs. And nothing that we buy is prepackaged. I always tell people you can tell when something is made from scratch.”
In addition to Sixth Avenue Bistro and Farrar’s Bistro and Bar, other new participants this year include recent additions to the area’s restaurant scene, such as Little Conejo and NOM NOM Restaurant & Grill. Longtime favorites like Willem’s on Main, Niche Wine Bar and Beaches are participating again this year with new dining month menu specials.
With the pilot program having been expanded, Schmidt foresees bigger things in the future for Dine the Couve.
“Even though we’re heavily focused on tourism, we know a lot of people who are going to come to Dine the Couve are from the area,” Schmidt said. “And this is a great way to showcase that Vancouver has a great culinary community and also highlight some of those restaurants.”
A list of the 22 participating restaurants and five participating breweries and taprooms, along with each of their special three-course menus, can be found at www.VisitVancouverUSA.com/DineTheCouve. A map showing where each of the participating businesses are located can also be found on the website. Dine the Couve will continue through the month of October.