SOUTHINGTON — Chefs are offering some new recipes at local eateries to celebrate Restaurant Week, which begins this Sunday.
“It's one of the events we look forward to every year when it comes to promoting” local restaurants, said Barbara Coleman-Hekeler, president of the Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce.
Organized by the chamber, Restaurant Week is typically held in the winter to bouy eateries through their slow season. With capacity restrictions in place through the winter, however, Coleman-Hekeler said many restaurants were seeing as many customers as they could under the guidelines, so the chamber opted to move the event to the first week of summer to jumpstart busy months.
Over a dozen businesses have already signed up and more are encouraged to join in through the weekend before the event begins. Participating restaurants are each offering discounted selections — many not normally available on their menus — which are being posted to the chamber’s website for residents to look through. The specials will also be posted to ConnecticutRestaurantWeek.com, a site which compiles information about similar events statewide.
Coleman-Hekeler said Restaurant Week gives residents an opportunity to break out of their normal dining habits and try something new out of the more than 180 restaurants Southington is home to. The event also attracts out-of-town foodies who follow town restaurant promotions, which supports the entire local economy.
“Restaurants really are a foundation for drawing in customers and visitors into Southington,” she said.
Michael Miller, owner of Hop Haus, said the town is already known for its culinary scene, which is supported by advocates like the chamber and the public.
“Southington’s a great town with some really great restaurants. It’s definitely a destination point in the state to try some great food,” he said.
All three of the specials being offered at Hop Haus are new to the menu: a butternut apple bisque soup, a fresh housemade sausage fettuccine and house made creme brulee for dessert.
Having participated in Restaurant Week in prior years, Miller said it does help bring in new customers and encourage regulars to spend an extra night out.
“It definitely helps get our name out there to new customers and it helps drive up revenue, especially after 2020 with COVID,” he said.
The signature creation at Nonnie’s Pies & Creation will be the bakery’s special item for the week. owner Nella Lastrina said her award winning pistachio cream pie will be $5 off.
She opened the bakery at 190 Main St. last fall after winning first place at ESPN’s pie contest and the pistachio filling remains her most popular. In the half year that the bakery has been open, she said the town has been supportive and shown that there’s a community of people who want to support local establishments.
“I think it really brings the town together. I really think people will go places and try out new things and it just brings people together … it gets everyone to try out something or a new store or a new restaurant that they weren’t familiar with,” she said.