Dine the Couve continues through October

Visit Vancouver USA’s annual dining month will offer ‘three for $23’ menus at 31 area restaurants

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Courtesy of Visit Vancouver USA

During the entire month of October, restaurants from across the city of Vancouver will offer special “3 for $23” menus to local foodies and culinary tourists for the third annual Dine the Couve dining month.

There are 31 establishments participating in this year’s dining month event, quite an increase from the 14 that participated during the inaugural dining month event three years ago.

“During the first year of Dine the Couve, we had 14 restaurants participating with 3 for $23 menu specials,” said Jacob Schmidt, director of marketing and communications for Visit Vancouver USA. “We have since grown that number to 31 participating restaurants. Part of that growth is attributable to the success of the event, and part of it is a reflection of the general development of Vancouver’s food scene over the past five years.”

“It’s amazing to see a business like Mighty Bowl grow from a food cart, to a walk-up window, to a full-fledged restaurant,” Schmidt continued. “They’re participating in Dine the Couve for the first time this year as is Koi Pond Cellars – a well-established regional player but a recent addition to downtown Vancouver.”

With 31 restaurants participating this year, ambitious diners can even try a new menu each day of the month if they desire to. Participating restaurants can opt for the traditional route and offer a three-course meal comprised of appetizer, entrée and dessert choices, or take a more unique approach by mixing in craft drink pairings, a variety of small plates and other options.

“With Dine the Couve in its third year, our local restaurants have really embraced the concept of dining month by getting creative and showcasing what they do best,” said Kim Bennett, president and CEO of Visit Vancouver USA. “We have a record number of participants this year, and we are ready to taste and celebrate the unique cuisine of Vancouver.”

Schmidt said the Dine the Couve event was originally started because they felt there was a need to showcase Vancouver’s food scene and bring local restaurants together. He said Vancouver had grown enough as a destination that they felt a demand from residents and visitors alike for a dining month.

“Starting off, we had an advisory committee of restaurateurs who helped guide us to the correct price point and right time of year to support their businesses,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt pointed out that one of the ways the dining month event has changed over the past three years is that although Downtown Vancouver remains a huge component of the event, the event has also expanded to include restaurants as far east as 192nd Avenue and as far north as Hazel Dell.

“The entire area is benefiting from the growth,” he said.

Also a little different this year, Schmidt said that during previous years, a $3 beer special was offered at the participating breweries. However, he said many of the breweries have experienced rapid expansion since the first dining month and now offer full dining menus. Breweries like Loowit and Doomsday Safe House now have onsite food options and are able to participate in the 3 for $23 promotion.

“Of course, many of the breweries are still offering beer options as part of their menu,” Schmidt said.

The first winery, Koi Pond Cellars, is participating this year, joining Dine the Couve veteran Niche Wine Bar as the two must-visit options for wine lovers. Eight breweries and taprooms are on the list as well.

Michelle Parker, who owns Koi Pond Cellars with her husband Wes, said they decided to have their Winery & Bistro in Downtown Vancouver be a part of this year’s dining event because they think it’s an awesome opportunity to work with their fellow venues to provide a fun experience for the community.

“Being new to the area we are really looking forward to being a part of the community any way we can,” Parker said.

By participating in this year’s month-long event, Parker said they are hoping to showcase their food.

“Everyone knows us as a place for awesome local wine but not everyone knows we serve organic bistro-style food,” she said. “We are looking forward to meeting new guests and serving our community. We are really enjoying meeting all the new people.”

Peter Gallin, executive chef and owner at Say Ciao! Tap Room & Eatery, said they participated in the Dine the Couve event for the first time last year and really enjoyed it.

“We saw lots of new guests coming through the door, which we like,” Gallin said. “It was a great way to show off multiple items on our menu and have people enjoy more items then they would perhaps otherwise.”

This year, Gallin said they will offer a choice of all appetizers/small plates and will have almost a dozen items that guests will be able to select three from. They also have a small salad, a glass of red or white wine as an option or their house-made soups.

“This will allow us to show off the biggest amount of what we offer and that is awesome, as I expect to have lots of new and returning guests for the month,” Gallin said.

Old Ivy Brewery & Taproom is another business that will participate in this year’s dining month event, and Owner David Nunez said their goal always is to showcase the fantastic, fresh and sustainable food they produce, as well as the tasty handcrafted beer the first downtown brewery has been producing for more than 20 years.

“Old Ivy Brewery & Taproom decided to participate again because we part of this growing business community and without our support and participation we are not contributing to the success of the downtown area,” Nunez said. “We have to keep evolving and continue to make Vancouver a must-stop on everyone’s to-do list.”

All participating restaurants and their 3 for $23 menus are posted online at https://www.visitvancouverusa.com/dinethecouve/. Use #DineTheCouve to share dining experiences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.