New York City’s Marea is the perfect restaurant for a Valentine’s Day dinner: beautiful atmosphere, white tablecloths, elegant seafood, and a sophisticated clientele. It’s no surprise guests flock there for the special-occasion dinner.
Special occasions pave the way for special requests, and Managing Director Rocky Cirino has seen it all: balloons tied to chairs, over-the-top flower bouquets too big for the table, horse-drawn carriages holding up traffic out front, a foodie magician and, on one Valentine’s Day, an unannounced violinist. “We let the guy run around the room a little bit,” he remembers. “It was a little bit funny, and a little annoying.”
Since Rocky is all too aware of public opinion around the holiday, his staff does everything they can to make it a great one. “It is well understood from both sides that Valentine’s Day is, similar to New Year’s Eve, a gouging day,” he says. “Anything restaurants can do to lessen the perception for guests that they’re being gouged is important.”
Valentine’s Day is lucrative for restaurants, but you never want people to walk away feeling slighted or disappointed. Here are his five Dos and Don’ts that can make Valentine’s Day a win for restaurants and guests.