2013 Westport-Weston Restaurant Week is a recipe for new business


Eliza Llewellyn

Diners enjoy the reduced price menus at Acqua on Main Street, one of the restaurants participating in Restaurant Week.

The clink of glasses and murmurs of conversation drift out on Main Street. Diners at Acqua and Cru sit under outdoor lighting as hot plates whisk between kitchen and table. All around Westport, restaurants – including Tarry Lodge, 323 Main, and Sakura – are lit up, marking the bi-annual Westport-Weston Restaurant Week. From Sept. 20 to Oct. 12, local restaurants from Rizzuto’s to Matsu offer prix fixe menus to entice customers.

“We’re hoping people will see our name on the list and see us as something they want to try,” said Amanda Moffo, the operations and marketing manager at Cru Westport. “We want to bring new feet in the door.”

Cru, a new restaurant, is especially looking to get its name out to customers. “We’re trying to get more exposure,” Moffo said.

Mark Murphy, general manager of Acqua, had the same goal. “We’re looking to entertain new guests and hoping they’ll come back,” he said. Murphy estimated that about twenty percent of new customers during past Restaurant Weeks returned to the restaurant to sample the regular menu.

Early in the week, Raghen Morrow, assistant manager of Tabouli Grill, had not noticed a big difference in customers. However, she was hopeful that the number of diners would pick up within the week.

Murphy was optimistic. “It’s been just a few nights and we’ve felt an impact,” he said. “I’m feeling very excited.”

Students too have expressed interest in Restaurant Week. Lexi Lubin ‘14 saw the list of participating restaurants online and was excited for the event. “I definitely would be more likely to try a new restaurant I had never been to before,” she said. Lubin felt that the prix fixe options were appealing and would make her more open to sampling new cuisine.

The lower prices include lunches for $10 and $15 and dinners for $20 and $30, a price which generally includes three courses.

Acqua purposely offers their same menu items during the week, but at smaller portions and lower price points. “We’ll be serving an eight ounce steak instead of a twelve ounce one,” Murphy said. “But we want customers to taste items from our regular menu.”

Tabouli Grill took a similar strategy. “It’s the same stuff on the menu, just at better prices,” Morrow said.

The Westport Chamber of Commerce organizes Restaurant Week, with businesses paying to be a part of the event, and now occurs bi-annually in the spring and fall.

Click here to see a list of participating restaurants and their menus.