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Skipping Dinner Is a Becoming a Trend

As tiresome as the prevalence of small plates may be, it seems they're in response to a downsizing trend. In the past year, more people are cutting back on going out to dinner or are cutting out dinner entirely, reports Small Business Trendcast.

Restaurant News reports that 40 percent of consumers cut have cut back on dinners out. And if they're going out, more report to hitting up happy-hour deals. Seventy-one percent report skipping dinners altogether because of late lunches or lack of hunger.

The result, says Technomic's Dinner and Late Night Consumer Trend Report, is that restaurants are accommodating changing patterns by offering smaller plates, lower-cost ingredients, and late-night grazing items.

These stats contrast with this year's Zagat report that suggests diners'

appetites for dinner out is healthy, with South Floridians to eat out 3.4

times a week, compared

to Boston, where residents eat out 2.5 times a week, or New York, which

is listed at three times a week. Perhaps this is because Zagat is reader-generated rather than a representative sample of a population.

After the jump, five happy-hour deals -- with small plates for grazing -- to save you weekend dough.

5. Tarpon Bend
A fast and cheap buzz on weekends with a two-for-one happy hour from 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

4. PL8 Kitchen
Appetizers are $3 and drinks are two-for-one in Sidebar from 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

3. Market 17
Stop by this swanky restaurant to sample bites from the new chef, Lauren DeShields, with half off all drinks and appetizers at the bar.

2. The Grateful Palate
Sample wine from a stellar collection at this gourmand's spot from 5 to 7 p.m. for buy one wine or beer and get one free.

1. Southport Raw Bar
Drink specials and price breaks on clams, shrimp, and wings from 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays.

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Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart

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