By Claudia Romeo
Whether you’re looking to try a new restaurant or visit an old favorite, Restaurant Week in downtown Westfield provides diners with prix-fixe menus and deals to 25 participating businesses. The list of participating businesses can be viewed here. Organized by the Downtown Westfield Corporation, the event will run until Feb. 26, excluding Friday and Saturday.
For two weeks, participating establishments will offer a variety of deals for lunch and dinner, as well as other additional discounts, according to westfieldtoday.com. There are 20 restaurants, 2 wine shops and 3 dessert shops offering deals. According to Restaurant Week’s online flyer, each participating business will provide specific menus for the week, in addition to their typical menus, as well as other offers tailored toward the public. At restaurants, diners are encouraged to take advantage of the fixed price menus.Tax, drinks and gratuity are not included in the price adjustments.
Said Downtown Westfield Corporation Executive Director Ms. Sherry Cronin: "We started Downtown Westfield Restaurant Week in the fall of 2009. We run the event twice a year in February and in September, at times when business is slower for our restaurants. It also had the effect of some restaurants offering a prix fixe menu year-round." She added that Restaurant Week is beneficial not only to restaurants, but also to other businesses downtown which "benefit from the increased traffic downtown."
Mr. Timothy P. Boyle, co-owner of 16 Prospect Wine Bar and Bistro said, “It allows you to try something you wouldn't normally try without making a huge investment.”
Mulberry House Owner Ms. Jenna DeLorenzi noted that in her restaurant, customers are introduced to some speciality dishes at half the typical price. Patrons can enjoy anything from tea, scones and other sweets to soups, salads and salmon. Said DeLorenzi, “[The Mulberry House] can be your home for the next two weeks!”
DeLorenzi added that “[Customers are] taking a risk, being their first time, but with low prices, it makes it more worth your while.”
According to Akai Manager Ms. Lillian Pien, “With the cold weather, [Restaurant Week] is a nice way to encourage people to come out and support their local small businesses.”
Boyle added that Restaurant Week is about more than just the food. He said that it provides a celebratory feel during a time of the year when people are looking for incentive to go out, and that part of the fun is running into people you know at the restaurants.
There is also an Instagram Photo Contest, in which customers during Restaurant Week can take pictures of their favorite restaurants to enter to win a $50 gift card to the participating food, wine or dessert establishment of their choice. Whichever photo receives the most likes will be the winner, according to westfieldtoday.com. To enter, customers can take a picture and post it to Instagram captioned with the hashtag, #westfieldrestaurantweek. Participants are reminded to remove their privacy settings in order to ensure that the photo entry is viewable to the public. The contest ends Friday.
Restaurant Week provides establishments in downtown Westfield with the opportunity to expand their business and customer reach. It also
gives diners the opportunity to try out different restaurants they may not typically visit. Said Boyle, “There’s something really interesting about the difference between… getting a coupon in the mail and an advertisement for Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week lends a certain excitement to traditional advertising.”