The 15th annual downtown dining weeks began on February 18th and will continue through March 3rd. A record 47 different restaurants are participating in either the lunch and/or dinner promotion aimed at showing off the variety of diverse dining options downtown Syracuse has to offer.
Downtown Committee of Syracuse Communications Director Alice Maggorie says in order to make the week more accessible to a variety of dining options and downtown workers, they added the lunch portion last year.
“Seeing that you can sit down and you don’t necessarily have to grab and go or order take out- hopefully seeing that encourages them to bring families back on the weekends and check out other aspects of downtown,” Maggorie says.
Seven of the eight new restaurants that opened downtown over the last year are participating in dining weeks. One of those is Kasai Ramen. The restaurant’s General Manager Tom Long says since the restaurant opened last November, just three months ago, participating in dining weeks is a great way to spread the word of the restaurant and attract costumers.
“I have had a few people tell me that that was the reason that they came in was dining week but they’ll certainly be back after the experience that they had,” Long says.
But not everyone in the city of Syracuse is able to even enjoy the luxury of discounted dining weeks meals. With schools out of session for the mid-winter break, families who rely on feeding their kids through free breakfast and lunch at school are down ten meals per child this week. Aware of this struggle, the Food Bank of Central New York launched its inaugural school break boxes program this week.
“This is a time in which fams are prob going to start to struggle, so kids typically get breakfast and lunch in school- they are out for 5 days for mid-winter break. It was our opportunity to take a hold of that and allow families to have additional food resources,” says Executive Director Kathleen Stress.
Each box feeds two to three kids and this week the food bank sent out 500 boxes, according to Stress. Stress says the response has been amazing so far but she hopes to make small adjustments and expand the program for future school breaks.