Ready to take a stab at that restaurant in Rittenhouse Square that you have been eyeing? Or maybe you’d like to see why everyone dotes on Philadelphia restaurant mogul Steven Starr? Sunday, Sept. 26 though Friday, Oct. 1 is the perfect chance.
The Center City District kicks off another Restaurant Week next Sunday with 80 restaurants offering diners a three-course meal for $30 a person. The event was started last September, and repeated again in January 2004.
According to Laurel Perley, director of marketing for the CCD, the event takes more than four months to plan.
Restaurant Week is targeted to varied demographics, including Center City office workers that the CCD hopes will remain in the city, along with the city residents. But the patrons of Restaurant Week are not limited to those particular groups.
“The price is so conducive,” said Perley “that I think it reaches a lot of other people, as well.”
Restaurant owners and managers love the idea because it not only brings people into the city, but also provides them with a great opportunity to test out different restaurants for rock-bottom prices. Jimmy Daku, owner of Bellini Grill, 220 S. 16th St., appreciates the opportunity to share his restaurant with so many new customers.
“It’s good because it brings many people to town,” said Daku, “because people like to dine out. It’s a great thing.”
Ettore Ceraso, general manager of Davio’s, 111 S. 17th St., agrees.
“We love it,” he said. “Strategically, the timing is right.”
Ceraso also notes that Restaurant Week is an opportunity for restaurants to showcase their best dishes.
“We try to use things we normally have on the menu,” he said of Davio’s process in deciding what dishes to serve.
Many participating restaurants follow along with the same practice, viewing this week as an opportunity to draw in those customers who may not normally dine at their particular restaurant.
Juan Fernandez, owner of Café Habana, 102 S. 21st St., plans his menu the restaurant’s most popular dishes.
“We go by what appeals to the general public,” he said, adding that often times, customers come into Café Habana for Restaurant Week and end up discovering something completely new on the menu that they love.
“It opens them up to new experiences.”
But be warned, restaurants fill up fast during Restaurant Week, and many are already taking reservations online. Kevin Kelly, manager of Loie Brasserie and Bar, 128 S. 19th St., said Restaurant Week is always a busy time for them.
“It is an opportunity for people to sample us,” he said, noting that they are already booked for one night of Restaurant Week. Along with the three-course menu deal, Loie offers live entertainment with its regular DJ every night beginning at 10 p.m.
Other special offers during Restaurant Week include discounted parking at participating Philadelphia Parking Association and Philadelphia Parking Authority facilities. For more information or to see a list of the participating restaurants and menus, check www.centercityphila.org/restaurantweek/2004.
Sara Getz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.