|Chef Walter Staib|
One hundred twenty-four restaurants (and counting) take part in Center City District (CCD) Restaurant Week biannually, and it’s easy to see why. While it comes as no surprise that many diners look forward to CCD Restaurant Week, owners, chefs, and businessmen are also raking in the benefits of the program.
During the two-week promotion (January 22 to 27; January 29 to February 3) restaurateurs offer three-course meals to diners for a special prix-fixe—without skimping on quality or sophistication. In fact, many chefs say they offer regular menu items on CCD Restaurant Week menus, focusing on high-quality meals and excellent service to not only attract more customers, but to convince them to return. “I look at it as being advertising: We get our name out there constantly, people see it, they come out and try it and hopefully come back,” says Le Castagne owner Anthony Masapollo “That’s why we got into it—it was a good opportunity for us to be noticed.”
Daniel Stern, the chef behind R2L, also recognizes the value of CCD Restaurant Week’s publicity and has extended R2L’s Restaurant Week offerings to include lunch and brunch. “At the beginning of last year, we actually launched our lunch service during Restaurant Week, and this year we are offering a special Restaurant Week menu during Sunday Brunch,” says Stern. “What is amazing is that it has consistently brought so many folks out to eat who are excited to be dining with us.”
Stern, Masapollo, and other chefs are also grateful for the boost in covers the CCD Restaurant Week attracts during an otherwise slow winter season. City Tavern Restaurant chef and proprietor Walter Staib adds, “At this time of year, there is an increase of 15 to 20 percent more covers. We see a huge difference at lunch, maybe even 30 percent.”
First and foremost, CCD Restaurant Week keeps Philadelphia’s economic lifeblood flowing by prompting diners to explore the local offerings on slower weeknights. Davio’s chef David Boyle sums it up best: “Restaurant Week keeps people in the city, and gets people from the ‘burbs to spend a night or two at a quality restaurant that’s operated by people who care.” And supporting local talent is something we can always stand behind. For more information and a list of participating restaurants, please visit centercityphila.org/life/RestaurantWeek.php