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Rochester Restaurant Week swoops in for the winter

One week. Three dozen restaurants. Special meals. Special prices.

Rochester Restaurant Week logo
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More than 35 Rochester dining spots will participate in the first Rochester Restaurant Week (Jan. 16-22), an initiative aimed at showcasing the diverse, budding local cuisine scene.

Rochester Restaurant Week is being spearheaded by Experience Rochester, the city’s destination marketing organization. The organization’s mission is to showcase local Rochester businesses to residents of the city and potential visitors from across the country. Experience Rochester also manages the Mayo Civic Center.

Joe Ward, president of Experience Rochester and Mayo Civic Center, says the initiative is also an effort to help local restaurants with a small boost as they head into the slower season.

“Bill Von Bank (Experience Rochester’s VP of marketing) and I were walking through the city one day and discussing how things looked pre- and post-COVID,” Ward says. “We asked, how can we help the local restaurants?”

While Ward says it can be good for new restaurants to enter the market, it’s even better to see current ones survive, and thrive. He cited Twin Cities Restaurant Week, which just took place in October and featured more than 50 local restaurants, as a model Experience Rochester could try to replicate down south.

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“We hate to see old restaurants close,” Ward says. “This concept seemed like something we could bring here and help our core group in town, especially during a slow time. After the holidays, it can be more of a ‘need’ period.”

While restaurant weeks can be known to include mostly sit-down, dine-in restaurants, Rochester Restaurant Week will include a variety of culinary options and price tags. Locations from Snappy Stop and Jersey Jo’s to Purple Goat, Victoria’s, Bleu Duck Kitchen have signed up. They will offer prix fixe menus for lunch and/or dinner, as well as dine-in and/or takeout options ranging in cost up to $45.

The initiative is geared toward locals and visitors alike.

“From the destination marketing side, of course we’re looking at visitors, but we also want our local residents to experience restaurants throughout the city, not just downtown,” Ward says.

Ward also says while most restaurant weeks include a charge or upfront cost for the restaurant to participate, Rochester Restaurant Week will have no fees for them.

“There’s a little bit of work to do for the restaurants, but we want to create something that isn’t taxing for them and lets them do what they do best,” he says. “We want to make sure it fits with what they do without causing too much work, and moves the needle for them. And positively highlights what is a growing food scene in Rochester.”

Rochester Restaurant Week will take place Monday-Sunday, Jan. 16-22. Visit www.rochesterrestaurantweek.com to learn more about participating restaurants throughout town and their special offers for the week.

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