Valentine’s Day is typically the most popular restaurant reservation day of the year, according to Open Table, especially when the holiday falls on a weekend like it will in 2021. While some restaurants are offering limited dine-in this year, the bulk of service will still be focused on carryout and delivery. Operators shifted many of their promotions to target customers dining at home, and that shift has resulted in a huge number of menus-to-go and themed items for Valentine’s Day and often, the days surrounding the holiday. The offers are not geared to couples only—chain restaurants are sharing the love with singles and families, too.
Cameron Mitchell’s upscale steak and seafood concept, Ocean Prime, created a Valentine’s Day in a Box dinner kit. It comes complete with chef-prepped ingredients and step-by-step instructions to cook and plate a Surf & Turf dinner for two ($199-$229) featuring chateaubriand and a choice of garlic shrimp scampi or Alaskan king crab legs. The three-course meal also includes lobster bisque, a choice of two sides, sourdough rolls and butter, and chocolate fondue with strawberries for dessert. Couples will also receive the restaurant’s signature candle to set a romantic mood.
On the opposite end of the price spectrum is TooJay’s “Sweetheart Dinner for Too" menu priced at $25.99. It includes a choice of two soups or salads, two entrees, a shareable dessert and two non-alcoholic beverages. For another $3 each, guests can upgrade to wine or beer. TooJay’s is touting its red velvet cake as the perfect Valentine’s dessert.
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
Falling somewhere in the middle is casual-dining chain Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, which is offering the same specials for both dine-in and to-go customers. Customers can order the three-course Table for Two dinner for carryout or delivery through Feb. 28. It features a choice of three shareable starters including Lobster Spinach Queso and Seared Ahi Tuna; grilled salmon or steak as an entree; and two varieties of cheesecake or a brownie sundae for dessert ($34.95 per person.) Valentine’s Day cocktails called “Love Potions” are also on hand for $11 each, with names like Date Night, True Romance and Pucker Up.
BJ’s Restaurants & Brewhouse
Dinners for two are also on offer for takeout or delivery from another casual-dining concept: BJ’sRestaurants & Brewhouse. Available until Valentine's Day and priced at $59.95, customers have a choice of an appetizer to share (mozzarella sticks, honey-Sriracha brussels sprouts or spinach-artichoke dip); two entrees (rib-eye, salmon, parmesan-crusted chicken or shrimp scampi pasta); and BJ’s signature Pizookie for dessert. In states where alcohol to-go is permitted, guests can order a bottle of wine for $10 or $15.
California Pizza Kitchen
From Feb. 10-14, California Pizza Kitchen is promoting three new “Sweet Deal Packages” for takeout. For example, there’s the Classic Lovers, with a choice of spinach-artichoke dip, two entrees (barbecue chicken pizza and garlic cream fettucine with chicken) and butter cake, and the Adventure Lovers, with Mexican street corn, chicken tequila fettucine and Sicilian pizza and red velvet cake. The Veggie Lovers package is all meatless. Each is priced at $35, and for an additional $12, guests can purchase two glasses of wine. And what would Valentine’s Day be without CPK’s heart-shaped pizza? The chain is bringing it back for the holiday in 2021.
Donatos and Papa Murphy’s
Heart-shaped pizzas are the specialty at Donatos and Papa Murphy’s as well. Donatos’ version, available from Feb. 10-14, features its signature edge-to-edge toppings on a thin crust. A one-topping pizza goes for about $11.79. And take-and-bake concept Papa Murphy’s is returning its HeartBaker Pizza until Valentine's Day. Customers can limit their order to the heart-shaped pizza ($9-$11, depending on location), or purchase a deal combining the pizza with chocolate chip cookie dough for $13.
Gotham West Market
This New York City food hall has two offerings for Valentine’s Day. Mexican concept La Palapa is featuring a five-course dinner for two for $85, which features mole, a complex sauce with up to 26 ingredients that the restaurant menus with pork, chicken and shrimp. For those who want a hands-on experience, Sushi on Jones is offering a sushi-making meal kit with yellowfin tuna, kampachi, king salmon, scallops and shrimp. Included in the kit are nori sheets, seasoned rice and a bamboo mat for rolling.
Red Lobster is also targeting cooks with its downloadable at-home recipes and e-cards to help plan a romantic evening or Galentine’s brunch. The instructions can guide consumers to create a biscuit bowl filled with seafood fondue or waffles with candied bacon and salted caramel after purchasing a box of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuit mix at the supermarket. And My Red Lobster Rewards program members can add flowers to the celebration, earning 15% off a purchase of at least $39.99 from 1-800-Flowers.com. Those who take advantage of the discount will also earn a free Maine lobster tail.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, fans of Torchy’s green chile queso can enter to win one of 100 limited-edition Queso-gram deliveries from the taco chain. The prize includes a cooler filled with two jars of green chile queso, diablo sauce and a Torchy’s t-shirt. The chain’s website provides all the details.
Galentine’s Day is observed on Feb. 13—a day devoted to female singles celebrating with their best friends. Insomnia Cookies is joining in with a variety of themed sweets. On the menu are red velvet and chocolate covered strawberry cookies, heart-shaped cookie cakes with cream cheese icing, and cookie dipper packs with a choice of buttercream, cream cheese icing and cookie butter dips for dunking and heart-shaped sprinkles for garnish.
New this year from Baskin-Robbins is a Box of Chocolates Cake designed to look like a heart-shaped candy box. It can be customized with favorite ice cream flavors and comes topped with a layer or fudge and assorted milk chocolate candies. The ice cream chain is also bringing back its Valentine’s Day flavor, Love Potion #31, as the Flavor of the Month. It features raspberry-filled chocolate-flavored hearts and chips swirled with raspberry in a white chocolate and raspberry ice cream. Both are available all throughout February.