Restaurant Week Gets Local Restaurants Cooking
Aria Miller '17
Last week, sixteen restaurants in Bennington town offered unique deals from November 5th to November 13th as part of Restaurant Week. a week-long culinary event hosted by Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce. Diners at participating restaurants were treated with special menus and discounts. This marked the second Restaurant Week of the year, the first one having been in March, reported Marie Schutts, Operations Director of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce. According to Schutts, the area has not held a Restaurant Week in ten to fifteen years.
March and November were selected “because of the timing,” explained Schutts. Without peak foliage, holidays, skiing, or other seasonal attractions, “It’s a little slow this time of the year,” she said. Therefore, part of the goal as Schutts described it is to increase business. Furthermore, she said, it is a chance to “allow [restaurants] to showcase their food, their menu” and to get a few new customers.
All restaurants who participated in the spring signed up for this week as well, in addition to four new restaurants, said Schutts. She claimed that a meeting with some restaurant owners on Tuesday found “all of them... shouting the benefits of participating”. “It’s very fun to see” the offers that restaurants have come up with, she said, as “everybody’s got a spin on it”. This was a change from March, she explained; according to applications for Restaurant Week, the March event set $20.16 as the price for deals, while the November event allowed restaurants to create their own deals.
“Honestly I think it was a good idea to get people into the restaurant”, said Kevin’s co-owner Teddy Hill of Restaurant Week. As part of the new ownership that took effect this fall, she reported that she participated in the week, as the previous owners had, as part of her goal to keep the place the same. Hill and the Events page of the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce reported that Kevin’s offer consisted of a meal from the specials menu for $20.16 including a cup of soup or side salad, entree, and dessert.
Emi Reyes, who is in her last term here, reported that she dined at the participating restaurants Pangaea and Allegro this week. “Restaurant Week is very popular in cities” such as her hometown of DC, she said, adding that Bennington is just starting to understand the idea. Reyes claimed that it was interesting to see how each restaurant interpreted the event differently, and described the week as an “opportunity for restaurants to showcase their work”. She added that she thought people believed the week would feature regular menu items; however, she said, for one thing, plate sizes were smaller.
Schutts described Restaurant Week as a success. Since the restaurants do most of the work, little is required of the Chamber of Commerce, she said. She reported that the next Restaurant Week has been set for March 18-26.