Inaugural CSCVB campaign aims to boost business at local restaurants
By Carrie Steinweg
LANSING, Ill. (February 18, 2021) – The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau is launching the inaugural Chicago Southland Restaurant Week this month to promote Chicago Southland restaurants while encouraging residents and visitors to support small businesses. Restaurant Week will take place February 21st through 27th.
The purpose of a restaurant week
Restaurant weeks were developed years ago to help give a boost to eateries when business is lagging in the winter months. Choose Chicago, the city’s tourism office, has been organizing a restaurant week for years and last year, just before the onset of the pandemic featured a record breaking number of participating restaurants—more than 130.
In recent years, more counties and regions have joined in, using the week (or weeks) to highlight the variety of eateries in their area and draw in diners with discounts. During restaurant weeks, participating businesses traditionally offer a prix fixe menu—meaning two or more courses are bought at one set price.
This year, local restaurants have been hit extremely hard. The first couple months of the year are typically slow (with the exception of Valentine’s Day weekend). The record snowfall and cold temperatures have also kept people at home. Many are still out of work due to the pandemic and aren’t spending as much on restaurant meals. All of this is happening on top of months-long mandated indoor dining closings, capacity limits to adhere to social distancing, and diners not having the confidence to dine out safely in public amid the pandemic.
CSCVB supporting local restaurants
The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau (CSCVB) is hoping to help support local restaurants through its week-long campaign.
“This is an excellent marketing and partnership opportunity for all Chicago Southland restaurants,” said Jim Garrett, President/CEO of the Chicago Southland CSCVB. “We are thrilled for the launch of this new initiative and are optimistic that it will be very successful in promoting area businesses. We are especially encouraged by the news that COVID-19 mitigations are lessening, and local restaurants can now open for indoor dining.”
The CSCVB covers 62 south and southwest suburban communities and currently has about two dozen restaurants participating in this first time event. The restaurants included stretch throughout the Chicago Southland region from Chicago Ridge to Chicago Heights and beyond.
Ordering and discounts
Diners will find an array of special menus and offers to choose from and are advised to mention “Chicago Southland Restaurant Week” upon ordering. Rather than going strictly with prix fixe menus, the offers are being left to the discretion of the restaurant. Some are doing a flat discount, some are offering specific menus or family meals at a special price, and others are doing a fixed price deal. Many restaurants are also applying the discount to carry-out, curbside, and delivery orders.
Participants can enjoy pizza at Ed & Joe’s Restaurant & Pizzeria in Tinley Park, or hot dogs at Doug’s Dogs in Oak Forest. Or they can try some ribs at The Patio in Bridgeview or Orland Park. Two Lansing restaurants, J.J. Kelley’s and Mancino’s, are participating. J.J. Kelley’s is offering $5 off of their family meal deal. Diners can select from different options to customize their meal for 4-6 people for $49.95. Mancino’s is offering 15% off all orders when Chicago Southland Restaurant Week is mentioned.
“We’re happy to be a part of it and represent the Crestwood area,” said Tim Newsome, owner of At The Office Sports Bar and Grill in Crestwood, where they’ll be offering a 20% discount off of food bills for Restaurant Week diners. “We’re very lucky to have a loyal following that has kept us going during these trying times. We’re looking forward to some new customers checking us out during restaurant week.”
Tammy Pham, owner and executive chef of Siam Marina in Tinley Park and Asparagus in Merrillville said, “We really appreciate restaurant week in our local communities because it encourages more people to dine out during this week and step outside their comfort zone to try new restaurants. My staff and I created a nicely-priced three course dinner—appetizer, entrée, and dessert, with options in each course that are sure to appeal to everyone. We also included vegetarian options.”
Prizes and participation
Diners who take advantage of the Chicago Southland Restaurant Week deals and share a photo using the hashtag #FoodieFebruary on social media will be entered to win one of five prizes, including a $25 gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts or a $25 gift card to Jenny’s Steak and Banquets in Chicago Ridge.
The complete list of Restaurant Week participants and offers is available at VisitChicagoSouthland.com/RestaurantWeek.
The Chicago Southland Convention & Visitors Bureau is located at 19900 Governors Drive, Suite 200, Olympia Fields, IL.
- Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau moves out of Lansing (September 27, 2020)
Chicago Southland CVB unveils “To a T” campaign to highlight attractions (August 27, 2020)