Sweet tooth: This is the week to satisfy it

Published 6:02 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2022

By Greg Goldfarb

Contributing Writer

Rich banana pudding, soft cinnamon rolls and flavorful blueberry empanadas are just a few of the sugary treats on the menu for the 2022 Suffolk Sweets Week, running from Saturday, July 16 to Saturday, July 23.


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Only in its second year, the citywide business promotion complements Suffolk’s popular and long-running Suffolk Fall Restaurant Week, which began back in 2008 and is coming up again from Nov. 5-12.

But instead of featuring complete meals, like during Restaurant Week, Sweets Week spotlights confections.

“This is what you might call a ‘sister promotion’ to Suffolk Restaurant Week,” said Kathleen Kelley, Suffolk’s tourism development specialist. “The idea is to promote eateries that focus on sweets, like our bakeries and cafes; sometimes it’s hard for them to participate in Restaurant Week’s three-course format, since they focus on desserts.”

Rising to the occasion this year are eight Sweets Week eateries: Amedeo’s Bakery, Derl’z Restaurant & Pub, Knotts Coffee Co., The Mad Batter Bakery, The Mod Olive, The Pink Box, Sugar Mama’s Bakeshoppe and Wall Street Café, including both downtown locations.

“We had 14 participate in the inaugural run, but I think some of them realized they fit better into Suffolk Restaurant Week after participating last year, so that’s why this year’s number is lower,” Kelley said. “Normally, for Restaurant Week, we have anywhere from eight to 12 or 14 restaurants participate; sometimes we may get lucky and have as many as 18, but it’s normally on the lower end.”

All of the eateries in this year’s Sweets Week also participated in the 2021 Sweets Week, she said. Wall Street Café, Derl’z Restaurant & Pub and The Mod Olive have also been in previous Suffolk Restaurant Weeks.

Open to any Suffolk restaurant desiring to tout its baked wares, Sweets Week works much the same way as Restaurant Week. Customers don’t need tickets, vouchers or coupons to patronize any of the participating eateries. They just go to them and order.

“We print special menus for each eatery to display, with their highlighted desserts, but attendees can order off the regular menu, as well,” Kelley said. “It’s just a way to highlight some of the special offerings that each business has.”

In Northern Suffolk, Knotts Coffee Co. is placing its blueberry empanadas atop its list of five items on its Sweets Week menu.

“It’s a warm, flaky empanada crust, filled with sweet blueberry filling and topped off with everyone’s favorite, cream cheese frosting,” said Casey Mazzola, co-operations manager, OBEC Hospitality LLC. “We love any opportunity to partner with our great city, while showcasing everything that our small business has to offer the public. It helps spread the word to the residents of Greater Suffolk about everything this wonderful city has to offer them, in terms of sweets.”

In Harbour View, The Pink Box’ Sweets Week menu is filled with cupcakes, banana pudding, popover cakes, cookies, cheesecake-minis and cinnamon rolls.

“We discount our cupcakes at the dozen and half-dozen; we also have a rewards program offering 10 percent off to new customers,” said owner, Gwendolyn Freeman. “We think it is important for our community to be able to come together and spread love and support through everyone’s favorite thing, sweets. We enjoy being a part of Sweets Week because it allows us to meet new people and to become closer with our fellow pastry chefs and dessert lovers.”

There are as many as 100 restaurants operating throughout Suffolk, employing about 1,198 workers and contributing $11.2 million in 2021 in meal tax revenue to the Suffolk community, according to Theresa L. Earles, Suffolk’s tourism development manager.

“Of course, this figure was down from the previous year due to the pandemic and the restrictions it caused,” said Earles. “We are still waiting for the 2021 report to be released, but expect to see positive growth as we move out of the pandemic.”

For additional information, visit www.DiningInSuffolkVa.com, www.Facebook.com/SuffolkVaSweetsWeek or VisitSuffolk@suffolkva.us.