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Inaugural West Hartford Restaurant Week Nets More than $10,000 for Foodshare

From left: Fleming's Private Dining Director Bentley Torres, Fleming's Operating Partner Liz Kiyak, Foodshare CEO Jason Jakubowski, Outgoing Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Lerner, Foodshare Event Coordinator Carrie Titolo, and Foodshare Corporate and Community Giving Manager Al Marino with the check from West Hartford Restaurant Week. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

A winter version of West Hartford Restaurant Week will be held in January 2019.

By Ronni Newton

The inaugural West Hartford Restaurant Week exceeded expectations in many ways – from the number of restaurants that signed on to participate, to the number of diners, to the amount of money raised for Foodshare through the “Dine for Good” event.

On Monday, organizers of West Hartford Restaurant Week delivered a check for $10,436.41 to Foodshare, which was the chosen beneficiary of the event in which 31 restaurants and countless diners participated.

“That’s 26,090 meals,” said Jason Jakubowski, CEO of Foodshare.

West Hartford Restaurant Week, which was actually a 10-day event held from Aug. 28-Sept. 3, was held at a traditionally slow time for restaurants at the end of the summer leading up to Labor Day.

“It was put together in such a short period of time, and was so widely successful,” said Jakubowski. “This is is such a tremendous gift for us at Foodshare.”

Five percent of all proceeds from Restaurant Week menus were donated. The excitement of the event, and the special deals that included prix-fixe meals at a discount – with menu items including $20, $30, or $40 specials, and $12 lunch specials – brought an influx of diners to participating eateries.

“This is just another great example of how the West Hartford community comes together and helps us out,” said Jakubowski. “And the irony of the West Hartford restaurant community buying meals [for Foodshare] is no lost on us.”

Foodshare Corporate and Community Giving Manager Al Marino said the organization has always wondered how to collaborate with the restaurant community, and West Hartford Restaurant Week was the perfect way to do it.

The timing of the event at the end of the summer also drew attention to Foodshare at a time when people are not really thinking about hunger. It’s a time of year when there are few fundraisers or food drives.

Outgoing West Hartford Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Lerner, one of the coordinators of the event along with Fleming’s Operating Partner Liz Kiyak and Carrie Titolo of Foodshare, was extremely pleased with all who participated. “Not only do we appreciate the people who dined, but we also thank the restaurants,” she said.

The winter West Hartford Restaurant Week will be held from Jan. 7-20, 2019. Participants and other details will be announced as the date nears.

“We are really looking forward to the next one,” said Lerner.

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