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Restaurant Week

Restaurant Week

Postby Happy Mom » Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:43 am

Restaurant Week returns downtown



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Restaurant Week returns downtown
Larry Katz, the local owner of Yummy Cupcakes, adds frosting to a cupcake on Thursday inside his downtown South Bend cupcake shop. Yummy Cupcakes is participating in Winter Restaurant Week for the first time. The event starts Monday and runs through Feb. 8. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN

Winter Restaurant Week
Here are the 16 downtown restaurants that are participating in Restaurant Week. The event starts Monday and runs through Feb. 8. More information, including restaurant menus, are available at eatdrinkdtsb.com.
Baker's Bar & Grill
Cafe Navarre
Chicory Cafe
CJ's Pub
East Bank Emporium
Fiddler's Hearth
LaSalle Grill
LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern
Le Peep
Linden Grill
South Bend Brew Werks
South Bend Chocolate Cafe
Sunny Italy
Tippecanoe Place
Woochi Japanese Fusion
Yummy Cupcakes

Posted: Sunday, January 25, 2015 5:00 am | Updated: 5:45 am, Sun Jan 25, 2015.
By HEIDI PRESCOTT South Bend Tribune hprescott@sbtinfo.com
Heidi Prescott
Posted on Jan 25, 2015by Heidi Prescott
There couldn’t have been a worse start to Winter Restaurant Week last January.
Who can forget the deep freeze that prompted the declaration of a weather emergency. Schools closed. Offices closed. Even the mall closed, and that rarely happens.
Below-zero temperatures along with gusty winds and snow prompted downtown South Bend restaurateurs to shut their doors for the better part of two days just when business should have ramped up for the dining event.
“Not only did it hurt during the actual snow emergency days, but it made it more difficult for people to travel in from surrounding areas throughout the promotion,” recalls Aaron Perri, executive director of Downtown South Bend Inc.
But restaurateurs are tenacious.
Rather than canceling the promotion, the Downtown Dining Alliance decided to extend Restaurant Week for those diners who had been planning to visit a favorite restaurant or to try someplace new for a value-priced meal.

And it paid off for everyone.
“We had snow up to our noses but it was still one of the busiest weeks of the year for our restaurant,” says Phil Schreiber, owner of The Chicory Cafe. “Normally, cold weather would keep people away, but Restaurant Week seems to abide by its own rules.”
Monday marks the start of the fifth annual Winter Restaurant Week, a 13-day event that promotes the independent restaurants located in downtown South Bend. Sixteen restaurants are participating, including longtime dining fixtures as well as a new brew pub and cupcake shop.
Restaurateurs are hoping that this Winter Restaurant Week, which runs through Feb. 8, holds much less weather drama than last year. Either way, however, many area residents look forward to taking part in a dining concept that first took root in larger metropolitan cities. Devour Downtown Indianapolis, for example, is celebrating 10 years.
“We go because we love our downtown,” says Vicky Stickley Freeman, of South Bend, who has dined at The Chicory, Cafe Navarre, South Bend Chocolate Cafe, Tippecanoe Place, Le Peep and others during Restaurant Week.
Because the menu promotions vary at each restaurant, diners are encouraged to visit eatdrinkdtsb.com to view the restaurant offers.
Some restaurants are offering $11, $22 and $33 options, while others may offer one or two of those price points. For example, LaSalle Grill will offer one three-course dinner for $33, while South Bend Chocolate has an $11 breakfast special for two people, among other offers.
Diners can view each restaurant menu separately on the website, or a flipbook option provides a convenient way to compare and contrast all the menus.
South Bend Brew Werks is taking part for the first time.
“When I see an event like this that highlights how people are really working together to revitalize downtown and make this a destination, it makes me proud to be a part of it,” says Brew Werks owner Andrew Elegante. “Hopefully, Restaurant Week showcases that to others, and I hope it continues to eat away at the perception that downtown is somehow unsafe or boring, which is the furthest thing from the truth.”
Yummy Cupcakes is also taking part in its first Winter Restaurant Week.
“Those weeks are generally a slower time of the year for the restaurants involved. To have it before Valentine’s Day is ingenious,” says cupcake shop owner Larry Katz.
The participating restaurants generally see a 30 percent increase in business during the winter event, he says.
“I think it brings out the customer who hadn’t tried certain places, maybe because of the prices. And it will give us the chance to put our product out to new people and loyal regulars,” Katz says. “The more people that are downtown, the better foot traffic we will have.”
Granted, the restaurateurs who have been part of the biannual promotion since it launched in 2011 say the summer event usually draws more people because of the weather.
“The winter crowd usually isn’t as big as the summer crowd, but if the weather is nice, we expect to see a lot of people,” says Carol Meehan, co-owner of Fiddler’s Hearth.
Jeremy Young, co-owner of Woochi Japanese Fusion, remembers nearly missing Restaurant Week last January because the weather caused a water pipe to burst. Woochi had to close for a week that month.
“But we still served a lot of customers, so it’s worth it,” Young says about participating in the event, which donates about 10 percent of the proceeds of each meal to the Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend.
Participating restaurant owners offer the following tips to diners:
The busiest time for dinner is usually between 6:30 and 9 p.m. It helps to arrive early if you haven’t made a reservation. Reservations are encouraged at many of the restaurants. Mention “Eat Drink Downtown South Bend” when you call.
Try a new dish. You can always get your favorite standby dish, but most restaurants offer something different during the event.
Park in a city-owned garage after 5 p.m. for free. During the day, parking is free on the street or in a city-owned garage for two hours.
While you’re at it visit a theater, a museum or art gallery. “Take full advantage and enjoy all the things that make us the cultural center of the region,” Meehan says.
Have you heard
Khun-Daeng Thai Kitchen has closed its doors after 11 years in business at 302 E. Russ St., in Mishawaka, because the owner wanted to move back to Thailand. Staff at the family-run business posted the news Thursday on Facebook, much to the dismay of loyal customers. … On the topic of international cuisine, the locally owned Mango Cafe, 1740 South Bend Ave., in South Bend, late last week released an expanded menu that now includes several Venezuelan dinner options. … We have two restaurant opening dates to share. Simonini Gourmet is planning to open its doors on Feb. 2 at Centennial Place, 230 W. Cleveland Road, in Granger. Dixie Southern Cuisine is scheduled to open later this week at 808 E. Colfax Ave., east of downtown South Bend. ... The Plymouth Kmart store, which is scheduled to close in mid-April at Pilgrim Place shopping center, will begin a liquidation sale on Monday.
Heidi Prescott’s column runs on Wednesdays and Sundays. Contact her at hprescott@sbtinfo.com or 574-235-6070. You can also talk retail at Facebook.com/thebasket and at Twitter.com/marketbasket. Hear her weekday reports at 6:52 a.m. and 8:52 a.m. on The WSBT Morning News with JT at WSBT-AM (960) and WSBT-FM (96.1).

http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/bu ... 5551d.html
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