November 29, 2020

Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week boosts sales for struggling spots amid pandemic

RALEIGH (WTVD) — Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week is in full swing and small businesses are seeing success after the first weekend.

There was a celebration in the streets this past weekend in downtown Raleigh for patrons and small business owners. A cello was out, a band playing, streets closed down and guests dining outdoors. A pop-up event was held in City Market, hosted by James Beard-nominated Chef Scott Crawford, and several other streets were shut down for Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week.

45 spots are participating in the event.

Downtown Raleigh Alliance President and CEO Bill King called the kick-off weekend a success.

“We were very pleased with this weekend’s turnout and our participating restaurants saw a significant increase in business, while using the extra outdoor space to serve customers safely. A number of visitors took advantage of our takeout tables located across several downtown blocks. The response this weekend demonstrates our community’s passion for supporting local businesses and we look forward to a strong week and even stronger weekend of Downtown Raleigh Restaurant Week,” said King.

Restauranteurs are struggling and desperately trying to change the tune.

The stay-at-home order handed the first financial blow. Next, a series of protests that lead to damage.

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Several spots are permanently closed or remain boarded up.

Foot traffic is down in the Oak City as big corporations, like Red Hat, remain shuttered, but small business owners are trying to push through.

Restaurant Week offers a path to survival.

“It was busy. It was nice to have people downtown especially right now,” said St. Roch’s Fine Oysters and Bar owner Sunny Gerhart.

St. Roch’s is offering a 3-course pre-fixe dinner for $35. Guests can sample fried oyster salad, New Orleans andouille with creamy ricotta cheese and homemade beignets with bourbon caramel sauce.

Heirloom Brewery is serving meals to-go. It has a fried chicken rice bowl made with sweet potato breading, which makes it gluten-free. Orders comes with a little treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. There are mini creme brulees.

It leaves all parties involved with something to be thankful for at the end of a good meal.

“I think the sales are on the upward trajectory, but also it’s just very promising to see people coming out, being flexible and working with us and giving back to the community,” said Anthony Capozzoli of Heirloom.

Raleigh Restaurant week runs through Sunday.

Sections of Downtown will be closed down again on Saturday, October 10th so guests can dine outdoors.

The DRA will be closing Fayetteville Street (Morgan St to Davie St), Hargett Street (Wilmington St to Salisbury St), and Martin Street (Wilmington St to Salisbury St). The streets will be decorated with lights and will have tables and chairs.

Crawford and Sons will host another pop-up event in City Market on Oct. 17.

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