New Haven’s Restaurant Week kicks off months early, potential business boost amid pandemic

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Sunday kicks off New Haven’s Restaurant Week. The event lasts from Sept. 13-Sept. 26.

Twenty-five of downtown New Haven’s award-winning and internationally diverse restaurants are featuring $19 lunch and $36 dinner fixed-price multi-course menus along with $60 to-go options.

The promotion will include those to-go options for guests choosing to eat at home.

The promotion was extended from one week to two, and was originally set for November but was moved up to September this year to accommodate outdoor seating amid the pandemic. It is a potential business boost for those local restaurants who have struggled to keep their doors open for business since March.

This year’s promotional period looks a lot different from previous years with increased social distancing, extended outdoor seating, and other COVID-19 health safety regulations. But for restaurants in the Elm City, many tell News 8 Restaurant Week not only brings a sense of normalcy but helps business during the continued uncertainty of COVID-19.

Cesar Palma -Rodríguez of South Bay Mediterranean Kitchen explained, “The pandemic has really taught us how to make lemonade out of lemons and see the silver linings through it all, to be a lot more accommodating in realizing that people do want to come out to eat and we’ve been able to take as many people as we can within the guidelines and following every precaution we can…I’m very happy to see it’s two weeks long versus the one week it used to be. What I’m looking forward to is the immense amount of people here willing to take a look at the extensive menus we have.”

Rafat Zoreiqi, the Asst. Manager Pacifico added, “So far it’s been great and today is the first day of Restaurant Week so we are assessing just how good it’s going to be…It’s a bargain to pay $19 for a lunch for two courses and $34 for three courses for dinner, so I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy and take advantage of that and not just try us but other places too.”

Local restaurants tell News 8 they are glad the opportunity to serve up customers’ faves in New Haven still exists.

Palma-Rodriguez said, “The city has been more than accommodating for us. They’ve put together the opportunity for us to not only have the outdoor seating but extend it out now…Building up to Restaurant Week, we’re able to pull together a beautiful menu out for the people to enjoy and feel compelled to really want to come and enjoy the beautiful environment.”

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