Getting the Lunch all at Once at Charcut saves both time and money and sends you off with a bag of cookies.

Launch into lunch dates for a cheaper option for fine dining

It is not cheap to dine at the city’s top downtown restaurants, but it’s certainly cheaper if you go out for lunch instead of dinner. You still get to enjoy the same amazing rooms, just with a lower bill at the end as lunch entrees are usually priced lower than their counterparts on dinner menus. Even better: you can take advantage of lunch specials that are designed to draw the downtown business crowd. 

Take Charcut, for example, local celeb chef duo John Jackson and Connie DeSousa’s much-loved restaurant inside the tony downtown Le Germain Hotel. Charcut serves lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers a “lunch all at once” special, which includes a bag of warm cookies to go. (Seriously! They send you off with warm cookies!) Even the most expensive option, the butcher shop feature rotisserie with wild green salad and parmesan fries (and cookies!), still comes in under $30. 

If you don’t mind eating a bit later in the afternoon, you can also take advantage of early happy hour specials at some of the city’s top restaurants for your lunch date: check out Teatro’s “Double Bubbles” for $18 pizzas and half-price on all sparkling wines by the glass or bottle from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Or head to the Wednesday Room, where happy hour starts at 2 p.m. (wines for $6 a glass!) and order off the lunch menu, which is offered until 5 p.m. 

If you’re not stuck on dinner, the world of dining is your oyster. Speaking of which, the happy hour special at Rodney’s Oyster House on 10th Avenue S.W. of six oysters and a glass of prosecco, wine or beer for $20 is one of the best cheap dates in town.