Return of restaurant week? Economic commission floats idea for spring, summer

Ridgefield restaurant week — seven days of fixed-price menus at the town’s bistros, pubs, and dinners — seemed to get the support of the Economic and Community Development Commission at its most recent meeting on Feb. 4.
“It’s a question of timing [and] interest,” said Vice Chairman John Devine.
The Chamber of Commerce previously organized restaurant weeks in 2016 and 2018, which were both held at the end of February. No dates have been set for Ridgefield’s restaurant week in 2019.
Chairman Arnold Light saw an opportunity for the commission to put on the weeklong event. He suggested the spring when businesses are slow.
“They’re all busy through summer into the fall,” he said.
ECDC member Amanda Duff rebuffed that idea, countering that restaurant owners she spoke with have said the summer is the slowest time of the year.
“There’s nobody here ... nobody lives in Ridgefield in the summer,” Devine said in agreement.
Bundle of events
Despite the summer slowdown, Duff saw opportunity for restaurant week to lead into the Spring Stroll — when the weather finally warms and people want to be out and about downtown.
“From a marketing standpoint, if we bundle it with two or three other events, we get a much bigger bang for our buck, plus the restaurants are willing to support the marketing,” Devine said.
ECDC member Geoff Morris said the restaurants should decide the timing of a restaurant week.
“It sounds to me like spring is the last time they need it,” he said.
Restaurant week could also be bundled with Summerfest, ECDC member Karen Sulzinsky suggested. The street fair, which the Chamber of Commerce organizes, is typically held on the third Saturday in July.
Devine rejected that possibility.
“People don’t come to Ridgefield in the summer — it’s a ghost town, it’s not a good time to spend marketing money,” Devine said.
“It’s easy to bring people to eat here that don’t live anywhere close to here,” said Devine. “If you use the restaurants as a marketing tool, you will drive the business.”
Light saw a marketing opportunity in the fixed cost for meals.
“Call it 2019,” he suggested — as in $20.19.
“But 2020 does sound better,” Light admitted.