By SHERIDAN CYR
The Southington Chamber of Commerce kicked off its first ever Restaurant Week last weekend, and it will continue until Feb. 25. Local restaurants offer a fixed-price menu featuring dishes picked by the staff.
“Restaurant Week is an incentive for restaurants to create a special menu and bring in new business that normally may not come to their restaurant,” said executive director Taylor Crofton.
The chamber reached out to Southington restaurants with the idea. “The reaction we saw from them was excitement,” said Crofton. “Some of them got back to us with a menu that same day.”
At the start of the week, 13 restaurants had signed up, but Crofton said more may enter during the week. That includes Paul Gregory’s, Tavern 42, Anthony Jacks, Tipping Chair, Close Harbor, Chip’s, Hop Haus, Fancy Bagels, The Fireplace, Witchdoctor Brewing, Café del Mondo, Crystal Bees and Zingarella.
“The idea was part of our marketing initiative,” said Crofton. “There are a lot of great, homegrown restaurants in town. We want to support them by being in touch and driving traffic towards them.”
The campaign also served as a membership drive. The chamber waived the registration fee for any businesses that joined the Restaurant Week event if they joined the chamber.
The specifics of the event are up to the individual restaurants. They choose their fixed price, menu options and hours of service. To inquire about each restaurant’s specifications, call the venue directly.
Menus and participating restaurants are also highlighted on the chamber website at southingtonchamber.com/event/restaurant-week.
The chamber and the town came together to advertise Restaurant Week, displaying two large banners on the Town Hall building and at the Plantsville fire station. At the Feb. 12 Town Council meeting, Democratic councilors thanked Crofton and commended the working relationship between the two organizations.
Councilor Dawn Miceli said she was excited about the continuation of the partnership. “The banners are an example of the types of services we can do for the chamber. Let’s keep the lines of communication open,” Miceli said. “We’re here to help.”
Councilor John Barry pointed out the importance of the town supporting its businesses.
“We are trying to make sure someone from the council is at every grand opening in town,” Barry said. “We want to be sure businesses know that anyone on the council will be there for them.”
Crofton told councilors she is working to expand opportunities for Southington’s businesses in her new role as executive director by introducing educational seminars, offering workshops on trending topics based on membership feedback, researching new benefits to offer to chamber members, and starting several initiatives and ideas to keep the Chamber strong.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.