Take Restaurant Night Up a Notch with a Progressive Dinner

Take Restaurant Night Up a Notch with a Progressive Dinner

Des Moines has become home to so many great restaurants, that it’s hard to check them all out.  If you’re like me, you may be wondering how you’ll ever find the time to get to the latest hot spot to see what all the hype is about. The answer is simple…plan a progressive dinner for your families’ next restaurant night out.  

Have you ever participated in a progressive dinner?

The concept behind a progressive dinner is that each course of the meal is eaten at a different location.  You move from one restaurant to another for each course. Progressive dinners work great because they are often made up of multiple courses like an appetizer, one or two entrees, and then dessert.

Tips for making a family progressive dinner night fun!

The main things to consider for a progressive dinner are the “itenerary”, location, and timing.

1. Decide on the types of restaurants you want to eat at and set a budget.

Are you going to let each family member pick a restaurant?  Do you want to pick a theme for your dinner? Maybe half of you want to eat Italian and the other half want Mexican. Are you going to only eat at fast food restaurants or do you want to check out some new local sit down restaurants too?

For example, you could plan to have Italian appetizers, a Mexican entrée and then ice cream from a fast food joint. Another idea is to plan a menu around a single cuisine, and then have each course at different restaurants.  A Mexican themed dinner could start with chips and guacamole at one spot, burritos and fajitas at the next, and then wrap up with churros and chocolate somewhere else.

The sky is the limit!  Call a family meeting to get input from everyone and then set your course from there.  If you’re looking for a little inspiration or local restaurant reviews visit DMFoodster, a local food blog.

2. Plot your route to minimize time spent in the car.

Since you will be moving from restaurant to restaurant, you’ll want to think about minimizing travel time.  One way to do that is to choose an area that has a concentration of restaurants where you might be able to park once and then walk to each spot.  Another option is to plan your route around your “can’t miss” restaurant and then eat at other places near it.

3. Time your meal to align with happy hours, specials, and reservations.

It might be tricky, but you may be able to line up with specials at each stop.  One way to do this is to enjoy drinks and appetizers during happy hour and then move to a restaurant that has an early dinner special.  You might also want to find out which restaurants offer free kids meals and on which night of the week.

Reservations are another thing to consider when timing your meal.  If you have to make reservations to get into a popular restaurant, you’ll want to make sure you can get there on time. You’ll also want to think through how long you plan to spend at each location. You don’t want to feel rushed or hurried and with kids in tow it may take a little longer to move on than planned.



What do you think?  Does a progressive dinner sound like a fun family outing? 

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