The ninth annual Queens Restaurant Week, where local eateries offer special menu deals, just wrapped up.
Running this year from October 8 to 11 and 15 to 18, the event is not just a celebration of the borough’s food; it is also a way for restaurants to bring in new customers.
It’s because of those new faces that many restaurants continue to take part in Queens Restaurant Week and new ones join the list, which grew to over 100 participants this year.
“They think it’s a good opportunity to reach out to the surrounding community and beyond, and connect to their customers, especially a customer that might not have considered them,” said Laura Altimari of Components of Fine Taste.
Her company does marketing and advertising for two Queens Restaurant Week participants: Bourbon Street in Bayside and Austin’s Steak and Ale House in Kew Gardens.
Both restaurants have been taking part in the promotion since it started.
Each year, said Altimari, the potential for repeat customers grows as Queens Restaurant Week gains popularity.
“They’ve definitely seen an increase from when it first began to now,” she said.
“It’s a good deal and we’re trying to attract a lot of new customers, said Bruno Dauti, manager of Mexican restaurant Mojave.
This year was the first time the Astoria dining establishment took part in Queens Restaurant Week.
The event’s suggested three-course prix-fixe menu price was $25, not including tax and tip, but restaurants were free to create their own specials.
Mojave offered an appetizer, entrée and a Sangrita cocktail for $25. Normally a customer would pay $35 for that meal, said Dauti.
He saw several new customers during Queens Restaurant Week and is hopeful that they’ll return.
“They also checked the regular menu. I was very surprised actually,” he said.
At Tony Roma’s in Bayside, staff saw about a 10 percent increase in customers, some of which were new faces.
“[Queens Restaurant Week] gives us a chance to give back to the community, to the local guests who come in and dine with us,” said general manager James Connaughton.
In this economy, he said, the customers “still manage to support us and keep doors open.”