Even though the Washington State Fair brings thousands of commuters to Puyallup’s downtown streets, local businesses can see lower turnout than usual during the fair season. Even locals avoid the downtown areas due to traffic.
To make visitors more aware of Puyallup’s dining options, the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber of Commerce launched Puyallup Restaurant Week last year.
“We hope to draw more people into the downtown core,” chamber CEO and President Shelly Schlumpf said.
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And while the campaign heeded some results, some changes were made to make this year’s Restaurant Week even more effective.
Participating restaurants will get more freedom in choosing menu items, and the campaign will only last one week, from Sunday (Sept. 10) through Sept. 17.
“The difference this year is we’re not running it for four consecutive weeks,” Schlumpf said.
Last year, restaurant staff found four weeks of special menu items to be too arduous. And instead of a theme for the week, restaurant staff members can choose what they think will be the most exciting for their customers.
“We changed what was successful and what wasn’t,” Schlumpf said.
Currently, 11 restaurants are participating in the event: The Hub, Mama Stortini’s, Charlie’s Restaurant and Lounge, British Bites, Tattered Apron Bakery, Flanagan’s Craft Pub, Trackside Pizza, Meridian Cafe, Crockett’s Public House, Bob’s Burgers and Brew, Toscano’s Italian Grill and Giorgio’s Greek Cafe.
Teresa Suprak, owner of Charlie’s Restaurant & Lounge, said that the restaurant participated in last year’s event and that some customers were confused by which meal was offered each week.
We were excited when (the Chamber) made it one week. It’s easier for the guests to call and say, ‘What are you doing for Restaurant Week?’
Teresa Suprak, owner of Charlie’s Restaurant & Lounge
“It was tough,” she said. “...We were excited when (the Chamber) made it one week. It’s easier for the guests to call and say, ‘What are you doing for Restaurant Week?’”
So what are the plans for Charlie’s during Restaurant Week?
Customers can get any burger, fries and brew for $10 at any time of operation. It’s an opportunity for fair-goers to eat before or after heading out to the fair.
“We hope to get some new folks in the door that haven’t been here before and make them regular guests,” Suprak said.
Mama Stortini’s is taking a different approach to the event by offering four small plates that are normally only offered through the restaurant’s catering business. Each plate will cost $5.
“They’re kind of a nod to our catering side,” said general manager Nathan Vaughn. “A lot of our catering items we can get really creative with.”
Those small plates include fried zucchini meatballs, fried prawns with a sweet milk and honey glaze on a bed of jicama, poached shrimp with a spicy citrus tomato broth, and ice cream sandwiches.
I think the big picture (is) letting other people know what our community has to offer as far as restaurants.
Nathan Vaughn, general manager at Mama Stortini's
“I think the big picture (is) letting other people know what our community has to offer as far as restaurants,” Vaughn said.
British Bites owner Terri Williams put together six Restaurant Week savory and sweet plates ranging from $8.95 to $11.75. The plates feature teas, scones, cheeses and other bakery items.
“We’d like to get people involved and come check out a few things,” Williams said. “We’ve got unique foods from across the pond.”
For more information about Restaurant Week, visit puyalluprestaurantweek.com.