Courtesy of John Brennan
Over 30 of New Haven’s finest restaurants will participate in the 21st installment of New Haven Restaurant Week, which will occur from Nov. 4 to 9.
For the past decade, Market New Haven, a 501(c)(6) public-private nonprofit that aims to promote commerce and the arts, has directed and organized New Haven Restaurant Week twice a year — once in the fall and once in the spring.
Restaurant Week was founded in November 2008 by Anne Worcester, tournament director of the Connecticut Open and the chief marketing officer of Market New Haven. After participating in New York City’s Restaurant Week in 2008, she was inspired to bring the event to New Haven, making it the first promotion of its kind in Connecticut.
“People come to experience our award-winning restaurants during the promotion, and we hope that they’ll come back to museums, concert halls, shops and theaters.” Worcester said. “We really encourage diners to experience many of the other assets of New Haven.”
Market New Haven will consider permitting any restaurant to participate in the event, as long as they adhere to the prix fixe prices set by Restaurant Week. These price points are currently a $17.10 two- or three-course lunch, depending on the restaurant, and a $34.10 three-course dinner. Participating restaurants include Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant, ZINC, Olives and Oil, Harvest Wine Bar and Union League Café. A full list of participating restaurants can be found on Info New Haven’s website.
Worcester said Market New Haven added a cause-related element to the weeklong promotion five year ago. Participating restaurants are required to ask every diner to add one dollar to their bill, which is then donated to the Connecticut Food Bank.
According to Worcester, New Haven Restaurant Week has raised $36,000 for the food bank, which is equivalent to about 70,000 meals.
“One in eight people in Connecticut struggle with hunger,” Worcester added. “Not only is Restaurant Week a great way to enjoy the incredible, internationally renowned restaurants of New Haven, but it’s also an opportunity to provide meals for residents in need.”
John Brennan, owner of Elm City Social and Olives and Oil, said that Restaurant Week is great for attracting people from all over the state to come and experience all that New Haven has to offer.
“We have some really incredible culinary talent in the city, and it’s good to show it off,” he said in an interview with the News. “It’s one of the premier restaurant weeks in the state, and it has a great impact on our restaurants, culinary community and the city at large.”
Although the prix fixe prices may offer a significant discount when dining at some of the city’s higher-end restaurant, Jacob Abdallah ’21 said that he thinks the price still is not cheap enough to attract student participation in the event.
Abdallah learned about Restaurant Week through several advertisements on Facebook and was interested in taking part until he saw the fixed prices. Abdallah said it would be tough for him to replace a dining hall meal with a $34 dinner, no matter how delicious the food may be.
He added that the fixed prices prevent him from participating in an event that would have allowed him to visit more restaurants in New Haven and become involved in the city’s “foodie” culture.
“I can see why people living all over Connecticut would come to New Haven to participate in Restaurant Week, but it’s just not feasible for students to spend so much time and money on a dinner on a weekday,” Abdallah said. “It’s hard for me to justify going out for an expensive dinner on a Tuesday when we have meal plans — if I’m going to go out for a meal, it has to be much more affordable.”
The Yale College Council held a Restaurant Week lottery, giving students the chance to win a free, multiple-course meal for two at a participating restaurant.
Park New Haven and The Shops at Yale will also be offering a special discounted rate of $5 parking during the event.
Caroline Moore | firstname.lastname@example.org .