In its 10th year, St. Charles Restaurant Week is looking to continue serving up good eats.
The event, which returns Monday through Friday, Feb. 24-28, will feature more than 30 participating restaurants.
Ciara Miller, economic development planner for the city of St. Charles, said the city’s goal behind hosting restaurant week is simple.
“It’s to get people to go out for a meal supporting local business during what is typically a slow time of the year for many restaurants,” she said.
Miller said a lot of careful planning went into the city’s restaurant week.
“We picked this last week of February, so it doesn’t conflict with any of the nearby communities restaurant week and Valentine’s Day,” she said. “We strategically picked that week to try and get people out during that slow time of the year.”
Organizers said those that visit the participating restaurants and show the coupon—which you can download or print from the city’s website—can save 20% off their total bill.
“It’s a great time for customers to try new restaurants they’ve maybe never visited before,” Miller said. “The goal is that they find their new favorite restaurant and become return visitors.”
Not all municipalities take the charge of organizing restaurant week for businesses in town.
“Because it’s run by the city, there’s no fee for the restaurants to participate,” Miller said. “They just have to agree to offer the discount any time they’re open for the five days the event runs.”
New to St. Charles Restaurant Week is Paradiso Restaurant and Bar.
Owner Izabela Accetta said she’s decided to participate in the event because the restaurant is still new to the city.
“There’s cold weather, but I know we need to get involved with the community,” she said.
Paradiso Restaurant and Bar and its menu features a variety of Italian and French wine, authentic Italian food, steak and seafood. In addition, there is live entertainment provided on the weekends.
“It’s family-owned; it’s not a chain restaurant,” Accetta said. “We have about 120 seats, plus 30 seats at the bar. We have a big bar at the middle of the restaurant. It’s very cozy.”
Accetta said she hopes St. Charles Restaurant Week helps create some exposure for her business.
“Since that building has been empty for 11 years, nobody knows that we’re here,” she said. “I want to introduce myself to the community. I know we have a lot of positive feedback already and reviews from local customers. They love the food. They love the prices.”
Jack Bhandari, the owner of Taste of Himalayas, said he is excited for St. Charles Restaurant Week. He said it is his goal to participate in the event every year.
“The number of people coming in for the hefty discount, the 20% off they get, I’m very pleased with that,” he said.
Taste of Himalayas has been in business for 12 years. The menu features, among other things, tandori chicken, pulav rice, chicken tikka masala and palak paneer.
Bhandari said customers enjoy what the restaurant offers the community.
“I have very loyal customers who repeatedly come and support the restaurant,” he said.
Bhandari said there’s something for everyone to enjoy at Taste of Himalayas.
“I was awarded for the most vegan-friendly, most gluten-friendly, most vegetarian-friendly restaurant in the Fox Valley,” he said.
Dino Sisto, the owner of La Zaza Trattoria, said he’s excited to participate in St. Charles Restaurant Week.
“This time of year, it’s slow,” he said. “It keeps things flowing. … It’s to give back to the town and whoever comes in.”
Sisto said the signature items on the menu include white fish spinachi, penne abruzzese and steak.
“We serve quality food across the board and emphasis on quality,” he said.
Sisto said he has a new dessert that patrons are raving about.
“I came up with this recipe,” he said. “It’s a cream cheese-filled cake with a pecan crumble. It’s got a drizzle of homemade caramel. I serve it with a scoop of gelato.”
Sisto said the atmosphere created at the restaurant is by design.
“It’s traditional with a contemporary twist,” he said. “There’s a lot of dark wood and warm colors. The lighting is warm.”
For details on St. Charles Restaurant Week and a list of participating restaurants, visit stcharlesil.gov.