The creators of New York's Restaurant Week dreamed up the concept two decades ago as a four-day promotion to create buzz about the city's food scene among 15,000 journalists in town to cover the Democratic National Convention, writes Tim Zagat. Since then, similar promotions have sprouted up in markets around the country and the original has expanded into two two-week celebrations in which hundreds of restaurants offer fixed-price menus to build sales during slow times, allowing them to discount without looking desperate.

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