St. Charles will host its annual Restaurant Week from Feb. 27 to March 3. For one week, various dining establishments will make room at their tables for guests to come enjoy a meal and receive 20 percent off their bill.
More than 36 restaurants will be participating in this year’s Restaurant Week. Rita Tungare, director of community and economic development for St. Charles, took time to speak with freelance contributor Violet Marquardt about the weeklong event.
Violet Marquardt: How long has St. Charles been hosting Restaurant Week? What was the inspiration to start an event of this caliber?
Rita Tungare: This is our seventh year doing Restaurant Week. Years ago, I think there was just a couple of communities that were doing this, and we were inspired by the notion of bringing people to St. Charles to enjoy the wide range of options we have here. Our intention was to bring people to St. Charles and enjoy all that we have to offer.
Marquardt: What is Restaurant Week? How does it work?
Tungare: Here’s how the program works – a minimum purchase of $20 needs to be made, and then if the patron shows the coupon, they get 20 percent off their meal. That does not include tax, tip, liquor and only works on dine-in meals.
Marquardt: Where can people find one of the coupons?
Tungare: People can print and download the coupon from the city website, get it on their mobile device or use the postcard. We usually send out postcards about Restaurant Week in mid-February and we’ll update the city website in February as well. We will be running ads in local papers and people can clip that out and bring it in.
Marquardt: Is Restaurant Week usually a booming time for the city of St. Charles?
Tungare: We don’t have hard data on where people are coming from and how many come during the week, but we’ve heard from restaurants that it brings people as far as Wheaton and Glen Ellyn, or even out in Sugar Grove and Elgin. I personally live in Wheaton and I know a lot of people who come out for this.
Marquardt: How do the participating restaurants benefit from Restaurant Week?
Tungare: Restaurants inform us that they are busier during the week of Restaurant Week. Right now, we have 36 restaurants that have committed, which is the highest number ever.
Marquardt: What do you enjoy most about Restaurant Week?
Tungare: My personal favorite part is how it adds an element of vibrancy to our downtown. It is an event. It is short and sweet [when] the weather is dreary and the holidays are over, so it gives you something to look forward to. And the discount is great.
For more information on Restaurant Week, visit www.stcharlesil.gov/restaurant-week.