The Fight for Monday Night

Restaurants battle it out for early-week diners.

At the height of the Monday dinner rush, Sibling Rivalry is less than packed. A party of 10 takes up most of the dining room, while a few tables of two are scattered by the windows. But compared with the Monday nights just a couple of months earlier—before the South End restaurant declared it “Fight Night” and let sous chefs Simon Restrepo and Jake Smith face off in a culinary smackdown—business is booming: David Kinkead, one of the two chef-owners, says it’s up 15 percent.

Mondays are notoriously slow for restaurants; many close and the rest rely on “industry” folk (translation: chefs and waiters with the evening off) for business. That’s beginning to change, though, thanks to Sibling Rivalry and others that offer foodies a chance to forgo supper at home in favor of a surprisingly fun night on the town.

At special-occasion spot L’Espalier, the Monday wine series—in which wine director Erik Johnson pairs dishes like braised beef short ribs and sautéed monkfish with affordable vintages—regularly books up. Diners flock in for the same exceptional service and food but at a huge bargain—and they’re taking home valuable wine knowledge to boot. “Erik spends all afternoon with the chef,” says regular Ron Cooper, a Boston resident who sits with his wife at the same table each time, “and then he makes you realize exactly what he did and why he did it, so you really get something from the lesson.”

Looking for a happy Monday? Restaurants throughout the city are serving up specials for all tastes.

Ashmont Grill Monday Night Club, includes a prix fixe meal with wine or beer, $25–$45 (555 Talbot Ave., Dorchester, 617-825-4300,

East Coast Grill Whole Pig Dinner, 3/5, $45 (1271 Cambridge St., Cambridge, 617-491-6568,

Joe V’s Half-Price Wine Night (315 Shawmut Ave., Boston, 617-338-5638,

L’Espalier Wine Mondays, a four-course tasting with wine, $55 (30 Gloucester St., Boston, 617-262-3023,

Sibling Rivalry Sous chef Fight Night prix fixe, $35 (525 Tremont St., Boston, 617-338-5338,