Restaurant Week brings patrons new flavors, fares and favorites
Chelsea Hoedl I AnnArbor.com
Restaurant week came to a close Friday as patrons scrambled for reservations at the last eatery on their Ann Arbor bucket list.
“It’s a great way to try new food even at places you’ve been to several times,” said Shelly Baczkowski, an Ann Arbor resident. “Last year I tried The Melting Pot and really enjoyed it. I’m open to new things especially if it’s convenient.”
As the time to take advantage of the deals ran out, Baczkowski decided to pack three restaurants into two days — Mani Osteria and Bar, as well as Gratzi , for lunch, headed next door to Prickly Pear Cafe to cram in one last stop with friends.
“Mani was absolutely fabulous,” Baczkowski said. “The $15 I spent was totally worth it. I knew I needed to take advantage of the deals Friday too since it’s the last day.”
For NeoPapalis , this restaurant week experience was the pizzeria's first since opening in October. As far as his expectation for business during the week, owner Joe Sheena said he really wasn't sure what to anticipate.
“It went better than I had expected,” said Sheena. “I thought there would be an increase, but not to this extent. This week we’re up by about 30 percent as far as customer traffic is concerned — I would gladly participate again.”
Sheena estimated about 40 percent of the sales from this week were restaurant week specials.
“Our deals were pretty darn good and we exposed ourselves to a lot of new people,” he said. “This was a good thing for us and I was happy to participate."
“Since we’re new to the area, we decided to prepare our menu so that people could try both parts,” manger Nicole Myint said. "That way they could get a feel for what our menu has to offer."
Myint said What Crepe? definitely will be participating again after seeing the results from this week.
“It’s been spectacular,” Myint said. “We were extremely busy. We literally had a line out the door this whole week for lunch and dinner. I feel like it brings in new customers and as a new establishment, that’s a really good thing.”
Jerry Krebes, manager of R.U.B. BBQ Pub on Packard Street said he recommends eateries new to the area participate in the promotion to let residents know what they're all about. The restaurant has participated in the event twice and Krebes says brings in people who might not normally give it a try.
“It gives people another reason to come and try you out if they haven’t already,” Krebes said. “We had a lot of people here this week who wanted to try us before, but didn’t give us a shot until now.”
Krebes estimated customer traffic increased by about 300 people and the restaurant brought in between $5,000 and $6,000 more than they would in an average week.
Arbor Brewing Company bar manager Ryan Luttermoser said events like this are especially appealing because of the across-the-board pricing for lunch and dinner.
“I think it gives people the opportunity to try all of the different kinds of Ann Arbor fare at a reasonable price,” Luttermoser said. “It brings out people who can’t normally afford it or who just haven’t tried it.”
Arbor Brewing Company has participated in Restaurant Week since it's first year and Luttermoser said they will continue that tradition
“We like to participate," Luttermoser said. "We like to be a part of the community.”
Chelsea Hoedl is an intern reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.