Saratoga Restaurant Week an annual hit

Diners traveled to Saratoga Springs from around the state and beyond to sample what the city's Fifth Annual Restaurant Week had to offer. Between Monday, Dec. 4 and Thursday, Dec. 10, 36 restaurants offered lunch ($9.09) or three-course dinner specials ($18.19). Dinner was priced at $18.19 to represent the year the city of Saratoga Springs was officially established and included an appetizer or salad, entrEe and dessert from a pre-set menu.

The success of this year's restaurant week is not yet clear, but Membership and Services Coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce, Connie Crudo, commented on last year's.

Last year we had 14,000 hits on the [Chamber of Commerce] Web site of people looking at menu and things like that and about 8,636 people partook of one restaurant or more, said Crudo. "We have more participating restaurants this year than any other; 36, which is up from 27 in 2007. Last year was the first year we offered a lunch special and I think that encouraged business."

Crudo said that Steve Sullivan, the owner of Longfellows and the Olde Bryan Inn, was one of the driving forces behind creating Restaurant Week. Five years later, it's still around and Crudo said shows no signs of stopping.

"It was kind of his brainchild and started out as a combination of saying 'Thank you' to regular patrons at specific restaurants, and at that price it was also meant to entice people to try different restaurants," said Crudo. "Restaurants look forward to it and it brings new people into the establishments and the area. We consider this a 'need' time of year, when people aren't focused so much on going out to eat but on Christmas shopping and stuff. This gets them out."

Restaurant Week boosts the local economy and attracts people from beyond the immediate region, said Crudo. She said she gets emails from people as far as Massachusetts, telling her how much they enjoyed the food and said that heavy advertising and television and radio plugs help reach points far beyond the Capital District.

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