YCC expands deals with city restaurants

Parents’ Weekend may be over, but students still have one more opportunity to eat out — at least partially — on someone else’s tab.

On Thursday, the Yale College Council will host New Haven Nights, a promotion under which several downtown restaurants — including Thali, Pacifico, Samurai, Temple Grill, Barcelona, Bentara and Central Steak House — will offer Yalies discounts of 15 to 20 percent.

The program, which is an extension of last December’s YCC-sponsored Ninth at Nite, is designed to expose Yale students to the Elm City’s various culinary offerings, organizers of the event said. Although some students said they were unfamiliar with last year’s event, many said they may take advantage of Thursday’s discounts.

Danny Seifert ’09, who worked on last December’s Ninth at Nite and helped organize this year’s program, said he is optimistic that the promotion will draw more than the “several hundred” students who participated last year. This year, he said, seven restaurants will be participating, up from the five who joined in last year. Seifert said he is looking forward to the positive impact the program will have on area restaurants.

“[New Haven Nights] gives students a chance to take advantage of New Haven’s dining and lets them have a fun evening with their friends,” he said. “It is meant to strengthen economic and social ties between Yale and New Haven — it is a win-win situation.”

Managers and owners of four of the participating restaurants said they agree that the event will help business. Three said they have already seen increases in reservations for Thursday night.

Gil Daniel, the manager of Thali, said although he has only been in New Haven for about seven months, he already recognizes the city’s college-town dynamic and understands how a college-based promotion could help draw attention to his restaurant.

On a normal Thursday night, Daniel said, Thali serves approximately 110 diners. Last year, when the restaurant participated in Ninth at Night, it served somewhere between 230 and 250 people, he said.

Seifert said other restaurants experienced similar booms during last year’s event. Bentara saw a 100-percent increase in business, he said.

But not all of the restaurants who participated in Ninth at Night will be involved in this year’s promotion. Miso owner Ming Lau said his restaurant declined to participate this year because there was no noticeable increase in profits as a result of last year’s promotion.

“We tried it, but moved on because there was no return,” he said. “The staff was very frustrated … we do not want to stick with a program that does not work.”

Still, Lau said he would reconsider in the future if the program was set up differently. The program might be attractive to his restaurant if it was held on a Sunday night, since more students would consider going out to dinner then, Lau said.

Most students interviewed said they were not aware of Thursday’s event, but many of those who were told about it said they would consider making reservations for Thursday night.

Alena Gribskov ’09 said she is ready to branch out from the dining halls.

“You can only eat so much limp pasta,” she said.

Simone Berkower ’09 said she will not be able to participate Thursday because of scheduling conflicts, although she took advantage of the discount last year by going to Bentara.

The YCC plans to sponsor New Haven Nights three more times this year, he said — once during reading week each semester and on Valentine’s Day.

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