The inaugural West Hartford Restaurant Week was so successful that organizers are bringing it back this winter, from Jan. 7-20, and have more than two dozen restaurants participating.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford has become well known as a “foodie” destination, but one thing the town didn’t offer was its own restaurant week.
That changed last summer, with a highly successful West Hartford Restaurant Week that not only offered diners a chance to sample a diverse assortment of culinary offerings – at variety of eateries throughout town and at a discounted price – but also served as a fundraiser for Foodshare, the regional food bank for Hartford and Tolland counties.
While “dining for good” at more than two dozen West Hartford restaurants during the inaugural Restaurant Week, more than $10,000 was raised for Foodshare – and that translated into more than 26,000 meals for people in the area who are hungry or food insecure.
Foodshare will return as the beneficiary for the January event, with participating restaurants donating 5 percent of sales from their special Restaurant Week menus to the nonprofit organization.
“Foodshare is honored to be the beneficiary of West Hartford Restaurant Week. We hope that everyone will come out to support West Hartford’s restaurants and in turn, our neighbors who worry about having enough food for their families,” Jason Jakubowski, president and CEO of Foodshare and a West Hartford resident, said in the announcement. “Last year, Foodshare provided nearly 12 million meals to our network of 300 local partner programs – food pantries, shelters, and community kitchens, including those here in West Hartford. The proceeds from West Hartford Restaurant Week will allow us to continue this important work.”
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Christopher Conway said that holding West Hartford Restaurant Week is not only a great way to highlight the town’s amazing culinary offerings, but also the perfect way for restaurants to give back to the community.
“The mission of the West Hartford Chamber is to encourage development of business and enhance the quality of life in the West Hartford community,” said Conway. “This event perfectly embodies this mission. Restaurant Week brings together our businesses in the form of the restaurants and the sponsors, our nonprofit partners in the form of Foodshare, and our community in the form of the many patrons who will come out to ‘Dine for Good.'”
The winter version of West Hartford Restaurant Week will actually run for two weeks, from Monday, Jan. 7-Sunday, Jan. 20, and includes some of the same restaurants that participated in the inaugural event, plus some new options.
West Hartford Restaurant Week will feature prix-fixe meals at a discount – with menu items including $20, $30, or $40 dinners, and $12 lunch specials. Some of the restaurants will plan a special menu for the week, while others will offer discounts on existing menus.
The list of participating restaurants includes: Artisan, Arugula, Àvert Brasserie, Bartaco, Blue Elephant Trail, Blue Plate Kitchen, The Cook & The Bear, Corner Pug, Division West, Effie’s Place, Elbow Room, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Flora, INDIA, Luna Pizza, Max’s Oyster Bar, Ocho Café, Park & Oak, Pond House Café, Prai Kitchen, Prospect Café, Rizzuto’s, and Union Kitchen. Restaurants are still being added, and the complete list, along with menus, will be posted on the West Hartford Restaurant Week website.
Liz Kiyak, operating partner at Flemings Steak House and one of the coordinators of the event, said that she is excited about the return of Restaurant Week – and its expanded two-week format. “West Hartford Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to show off our town’s diverse food scene, which celebrates a plethora of flavors and culinary experiences. West Hartford locals and in-the-know foodies already embrace the town’s amazing chefs and restaurants, and now its time for others to discover them,” she said in a statement.
“Dine for Good” is the result of a collaboration with the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, Foodshare, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, and Comcast Business.
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