Main Street Kent puts Kent eateries on display during Restaurant Week

Troy’s Mediterranean Grille served their signature beef shawarma as a part of Restaurant Week. Jan. 26

Jorden Shevel

Twice a year, Main Street Kent features 12 downtown restaurants who tailor their menus to promote their best dishes and businesses to new customers. This event brings residents from Kent and the neighboring communities out to experience all the different food downtown has to offer over the course of the week.

Restaurant Week took place from Jan. 21 to Jan. 27 and went on despite the poor weather. The participating businesses were Belleria Pizza and Italian Restaurant, Burnside Barbeque, Erie St. Kitchen, Franklin Hotel Bar, GRAZERS, Laziza, Nineteen 10 Restaurant and Lounge, Tree City Coffee and Pastry, Troy Grille, Treno Ristorante, Water Street Tavern and 157 Lounge.

Each restaurant had the chance to showcase a few of their signature menu items. The event offered a variety of food such as vegan chili, jalapeno sausage, fettuccini alfredo, seared salmon, beef shawarma and much more.

“We encourage them to create menus to showcase what they have to offer, for a little bit of a discounted price so it entices people to go out and try new places,” said Heather Malarcik, the executive director of Main Street Kent 

Main Street Kent was established in 2006 to promote business and preserve the heritage of downtown Kent. They sponsor various events throughout the year to showcase downtown Kent’s business, artists and residents. They also provide different programs to help promote local business and fuel economic growth.

Even with over 11 inches of snow throughout the course of the seven days, Restaurant Week was a success for the businesses involved. Some restaurants even reported having more sales than the first Restaurant Week in June 2018. These results are great for business because most of the restaurants reported that January is one of their slowest months of the year.

“People are definitely taking advantage of it, we just checked our numbers on how many are doing it and it is more than the summertime at this point in the week,” said Laure Heroux, the general manager of Tree City Coffee and Pastry.

For some businesses, the week is more about attracting new customers and introducing people to their menu rather than making money. The restaurants usually end up lowering their prices for the week and group their menu items together to give people more of a variety at the best cost.

“More publicity and more people than anything, it’s not so much about the money. We’re usually offering a pretty good deal to get them to come in and try it,” said Mike Awad, the kitchen manager at Laziza Mediterranean Restaurant.

Another benefit of Restaurant Week is that it brings the businesses involved closer together. People working at the restaurants will refer customers to other business taking part in the event, hand out pamphlets with the menus and prices for all the restaurants and even try the other restaurants themselves.

“Collectivity not only through Restaurant Week but always,” said Stacey Lasher, the co-owner of GRAZERS. “The restaurants in Kent aren’t competitive like other places. We really look at it as we all have something unique to offer and there is enough business in this town for all of us. We eat at each other’s restaurants and if customers are looking for a specific food we even recommend each others restaurants.”

Main Street Kent is planning a few other events in the near future for the businesses in downtown such as a chocolate walk and a putt-putt course that goes through all the local businesses.

Jorden Shevel is the business reporter. Contact him at [email protected]