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Friday, June 5, 2009

Urban Tavern Lunch Promo Hopes Customers Won't Dine and Dash

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Urban Tavern: Pay what you wanna pay - BITTERMELON VIA FLICKR
  • bittermelon via Flickr
  • Urban Tavern: Pay what you wanna pay
If you've ever fantasized about being able to pay what you reckon a meal was worth, you'll have your chance next week at Urban Tavern (333 O'Farrell at Mason). The promo asks diners to eat up to a three-course lunch menu (with unlisted prices), then pay whatever they want. Risky? Private dining manager Kyle McKibbin doesn't think so.

"We heard about a restaurant in London that did something similar," McKibbin told SFoodie. "They actually had higher check averages than when they had the prices printed on the menus." That means either a.) that diners thought the cooking was very, very good, or b.) overcompensated to avoid being seen as cheapskates, or c.) were just plain dumb.

Of course, the point of Urban Tavern's promotion is not to bilk its customers -- at least we hope not. Instead, it's hyping the rollout of its new summer menu (peruse it on the Web site), and showing off newish chef Mary O'Neill, who unpacked her knives there two months ago. And the set-your-own-price promo has rules: no more than three courses, and no more than 100 diners a day will be seated.

Which suggests that, though Kyle McKibbin may harbor optimism that diners will open their wallets after a fantastic lunch, he isn't taking any chances. The deal runs June 8-12, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Reservations via OpenTable, or call 923-4400.

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