U.S. restaurants spotlight fish on Valentine’s

Published on
February 10, 2011

Restaurants and supermarkets across the United States are promoting seafood that will help their customers feel more romantic throughout the Valentine’s Day holiday.

Tying seafood entrees into the holiday is a smart move, since around 70 million Americans are expected to eat at restaurants to celebrate Valentine’s Day, according to new research from the National Restaurant Association. And 13 percent of those surveyed pick restaurants that offer special menus or promotions for Valentine’s Day.

McCormick & Schmick’s of Portland, Ore., and Legal Sea Foods of Boston are two chains featuring special menus for the holiday. McCormick & Schmick’s is offering a trio of filet mignon, stuffed shrimp and crème brulee for USD 29.95. Locations are also touting other special “chef features,” and are offering to work with couples on planning custom menu messages, flowers and gifts.

Legal Sea Foods is offering a special menu through Valentine’s Day. “We recommend celebrating your sweetheart with oysters and champagne, shrimp cocktail, surf and turf or all of the above,” according to a statement on its website.

Restaurants are not the only ones getting into the Valentine’s Day spirit. Most grocery seafood departments are offering a surf-and-turf special, along with discounts on oysters, lobster or fish. Upscale retailer Dorothy Lane Market of Dayton, Ohio, is featuring Chinook salmon from B.C. Creative Salmon in Tofino, British Columbia. Typically priced at USD 16.99 per pound, Dorothy Lane is running it on special for USD 14.99 a pound.

“It is doing very well this week and we expect it to do great this weekend. We are going to demo it on Sunday. There will likely be a lot of Sunday dinners to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and fish is quick to prepare,” said Jack Gridley, Dorothy Lane's meat and seafood director.

Dorothy Lane is also doing well with a traditionally popular Valentine’s Day meal: oysters. Starting three weeks ago, its Springboro, Ohio, store began offering Oyster Bar Happy Hour on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. The store’s wine bar serves shucked oysters for 69 cents each and staff recommends accompanying wine and beer to go with the shellfish.

“When you sell oysters for 69 cents each, you don’t get rich. Where you do see the real increase is in wine sales: people are buying USD 40 to USD 50 bottles of wine [to drink with the oysters],” Gridley said.

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