New Haven Restaurant Week drives commercial diversification efforts
New Haven hosted its 13th annual Restaurant Week promoting new culturally diverse restaurants.
Daniel Zhao, Senior Photographer
Last Tuesday, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker joined city officials in celebrating the return of New Haven’s 13th annual Restaurant Week.
From Oct. 3-16, more than 20 of New Haven’s most beloved restaurants adopted prix fixe menus in an effort to encourage residents to branch out and try the city’s internationally diverse cuisines. Elicker gathered city officials on the College Street Promenade to celebrate the return of Restaurant Week and Sidewalk Saturdays, an outside shopping promotion that works in conjunction with the week that promotes New Haven’s small shops.
As the site of the first organized “restaurant week” promotion in Connecticut, New Haven Restaurant Week seeks to bolster local businesses through attention-grabbing deals.
“After 13 years, the promotion is a well-oiled machine,” said Bruno Baggetta, the marketing and communications director at Market New Haven. “New Haven Restaurant Week has been a tremendous success, due in no small part to the inspiring resilience of our restaurant partners. Our restaurateurs and their staff work tirelessly to create a memorable dining experience.”
Baggetta has been a part of Restaurant Week since its inaugural season.
New Haven Restaurant week also supports Connecticut Foodshare, the main food bank in the New Haven area. The organization is the official charity of Restaurant Week. Baggetta said that over the last 12 years, participating restaurants have raised more than $50,000 for food shares across Connecticut.
In addition to assisting local organizations, Restaurant Week inspires residents to discover new restaurants and stores through its partnership with Sidewalk Saturdays.
Deputy Economic Development Administrator of New Haven Carlos Eyzaguirre told the News how the city of New Haven economically benefits from Restaurant Week’s increased commerce and high levels of consumer diversification.
“Sidewalk Saturdays is a way for non-restaurant retailers to be a part of the Restaurant Week action in a meaningful way and take advantage of the increased foot traffic by selling their wares outdoors,” Eyzaguirre said. “It is also an opportunity for the local New Haven artists and makers who participate, many of them from the Black and Brown community, to promote and sell their work as well as gain much-deserved notoriety.”
Eyzaguirre explained that New Haven residents from Afghanistan, Syria, Peru and other countries are opening new restaurants all over the city, signaling a recent international expansion within New Haven food culture.
“Restaurant Week’s sustained success has continually highlighted New Haven’s diverse dining scene and further solidified our position as a foodie destination,” Eyzaguirre said. “As New Haven’s demographics continually shift and more people arrive to our city from all over the world, it will remain an opportunity for folks from our city to enjoy cuisines from other cultures that may be less familiar to them.”
Yale students benefited from New Haven Restaurant week as well, with many taking advantage of the lower prices and meal deals in restaurants.
Pia Baldwin Edwards ’25 explained that Restaurant Week’s lunch option includes an appetizer and an entrée, and that its dinner option is a full three course meal with options such as pastas, pizzas and salads spanning various international cuisines.
“It’s really nice to know that I can get a luxurious lunch in the 20 dollar range,” Baldwin Edwards told the News. “I really made use of Restaurant Week’s $21 lunch option to spice up my dining choices and expand my dining palate, eating at Soul de Cuba cafe, a Cuban restaurant I had never tried before.”
Market New Haven was established in 2000 and strives to market downtown New Haven as a culturally dynamic city.