Restaurant Week leaving bad taste in some owners' mouths

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It's been a Center City tradition for years - Restaurant Week - a promotion where eateries offer special price-fixed menus to lure new diners. (WPVI)

It's been a Center City tradition for years - Restaurant Week - a promotion where eateries offer special price-fixed menus to lure new diners.

But some restaurateurs say they're fed up, and it's leaving a bad taste in their mouths.

Scott Schroeder, owner of the Hungry Pigeon in Queen Village, says you can't call it Restaurant Week when it's held for two weeks in the fall and another two weeks in the winter.

"It was great when it was one week a year and it was something that was for Center City. Now that they've done it for four weeks a year - it's a month - and that's hard on the rest of us," said Scott Schroeder, owner, The Hungry Pigeon.

Schroders says it's hard on him because he doesn't take part in Restaurant Week.

So, during the four-week promotion, he's competing against restaurants offering three-course dinners at a nearly 50 percent discount in many cases. Schroeder also says diners taking part in Restaurant Week are not getting the full experience because only a portion of the regular menu is offered at the discounted price.

"They are under-cutting themselves because they need to make some sort of money out of the $35 a head," said Scott Schroeder.

But managers from most of the eateries that do take part in Restaurant Week say they love it if for only one reason.

It's a great way to expand the number of potential repeat customers.

Davio's on South 17th Street certainly falls into that category.

"That gives us an opportunity to have the repeat guest come back. The one's that do come for the first time will see what we do, do and want that experience again," said Leo Barbuto, general manager, Davio's.

And we found no shortage of customers who say the $35 Restaurant Week meal is what brought them out Wednesday night.

"I don't always have time, and when I'm hanging out with my friends, it's a little easier to go to the more expensive restaurants during Restaurant Week," said Valerie Hosendorf of Mt. Airy.
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