Evanston restaurants participate in Chicago Restaurant Week


Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern

Farmhouse Tavern, 703 Church St. The restaurant was one of three in the Evanston area to participate in Chicago Restaurant Week.

Jacob Fulton, Assistant City Editor

The 13th annual Chicago Restaurant Week comes to an end this weekend, closing its biggest year yet.

Coordinated by Choose Chicago, the 17-day event — running from Jan. 24 to Feb. 9 — featured over 430 restaurants located mostly in Chicago. However, around 50 participating restaurants came from Chicago suburbs. As part of the promotion, all restaurants offer multi-course meals at a fixed price: $24 for brunch or lunch, and $36 or $48 for dinner, depending on the meal.

This year, three restaurants from the Evanston area participated. Farmhouse Evanston, Oceanique Restaurant and The Stained Glass all offered discounted meals to customers throughout the event.

Mark Grosz, the owner of Oceanique Restaurant, said his restaurant has participated in the event for nearly a decade, and he always sees higher sales throughout Restaurant Week — increases that typically hover around 40 percent. He said this helps counterbalance the decrease in revenue that comes with the winter season.

“It’s a really great way to promote the restaurant to people that may not have been here or may not have heard of it,” Grosz said. “For some customers, it may be a little bit pricey for them and this allows them to try it at a discounted fare.”

Grosz said he appreciates Chicago Restaurant Week, as he sees many people return for the event, and will also gain repeat customers who appreciate the quality of his food.

Al Orendorff, the corporate communications director for Choose Chicago, said the event is just one way restaurants can build connections with their customers.

“The opportunity for restaurants to strengthen and build upon relationships that many of them have in the communities and neighborhoods where they are operating is always good,” Orendorff said. “It also encourages neighborhood to neighborhood travel, which is also a good thing.”

However, Orendorff said customers aren’t the only ones that see the positive effects of Chicago Restaurant Week.

He said this event, and others like it, are more than the financial benefits they provide for owners. They also foster a sense of unity within the Chicago restaurant community.

“From a business standpoint, they’re often rivals, but (owners) appreciate the supportive nature of the cooking community,” Orendorff said. “They’re part of something special.”

Orendorff said this community is incredibly important, given Chicago’s global reputation for high-caliber cuisine.

Grosz said a central priority for him while the event is occurring is to ensure customers have the same quality experience they would any other time of year.

“We’re a small family business and we pay attention to detail every day,” Grosz said. “We don’t skimp on anything on Restaurant Week — it’s the same quality, same portion. We strive to have the best service because I believe service is paramount to everything.”

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Twitter: @jacobnfulton1