When Chicago Restaurant Week first started five years ago, there were only 35 participants. Now, there’s more than 200, including Catch 35 right here in Naperville. They did it last year and found it so successful, they signed up again.
“For people who have never been into our restaurant before and they feel like it may be too expensive, it’s a great way for them to come in, try out the menu, and maybe realize the restaurant is much more affordable than they had thought,” said Leanne Trevino, General Manager of Catch 35.
Chicago Restaurant Week is a chance for diners to try new places and score a great deal. For ten days, participants have special three or four course menus at a set price.
Rosebud in Naperville signed up for the first time this year and found they had 52 new faces over the weekend.
“They love that you get the full tour of Rosebud,” said Jay Demarco, General Manager of Rosebud. “You get the appetizer, a salad or soup, the entrée and a dessert. So you don’t get one entrée, you’re getting a whole tour of what we do.”
Tourist events like Restaurant Week bring in new people to Naperville’s hospitality industry, a $300 million business.
“It’s a huge economic driver for employment, sales tax dollars, food and beverage dollars, and it helps fund a lot of our events throughout the city, our cultural events and our arts projects,” said Christine Jeffries, President of the Naperville Development Partnership.
Because of the deals, both Naperville restaurants saw bigger crowds during the week. At Rosebud, there were 20-40 extra diners each weeknight. At Catch 35, they saw about 75 extra each night.
“It’s a great program, it really does work,” said Trevino. “It brings people that we’ve never seen before and people are just very surprised.”
Last year, Chicago Restaurant Week brought in more than $19 million for the Chicago area.
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