Cleaning our plates

Published 7:40 pm Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What’s the best way to measure the success of Restaurant Week? It depends on whether you’re measuring that success from the perspective of the participating restaurateurs, from the perspective of the diners or from the perspective of the city that hosted the event.

It’s still too early to have any hard-and-fast data in hand to support the claims, but restaurant owners, diners and city officials all seemed well-satisfied on Monday with the way things turned out for Suffolk’s third annual dining-centric promotional event.

If one important measure of a restaurant’s desirability to the hungry masses is the number of empty tables, Suffolk’s Restaurant Week was clearly a success for most of its participating restaurants. Whether in North Suffolk or Downtown, the city’s trendiest restaurants were booked solid during the concluding weekend of the event. Some reported lines of customers awaiting their chance to sample the special fare.

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Even with the affordable fixed-price, three-course menu, filling seats leads to a profitable night. And profitable nights for the restaurants that contribute to the city’s tax base are the clearest measure of success for the Suffolk officials involved in establishing and promoting Restaurant Week, not to mention those involved in collecting the food and beverage taxes raised through increased sales.

All of which leads to the easiest group to evaluate — Suffolk diners. They had a choice of 16 different eateries participating in the event this year, with food styles ranging from classical Italian to traditional Southern to avant-garde sushi and more. For most of last week, whenever friends got together in Suffolk, there was a good chance that they’d talk about either Restaurant Week plans or Restaurant Week experiences. Giving an even clearer indication of the event’s success with Suffolk diners were the satisfied smiles on their faces as they paid their bills.

So, congratulations to the city and to its Restaurant Week participants — both vendors and diners. Last week was a good time to have a hearty appetite in Suffolk. Let’s do it again real soon.