Restaurant week getting 4 stars

If early reviews are any indication, Monroe will be making restaurant week an annual event.

Economic Development Commission Chair Donna Verdisco, who was instrumental in getting this week of local culinary focus on the menu, said that while not all restaurant reports are in, those that are are quite impressive.

Verdisco said Vazzy’s owners said the week’s receipts were “very good” and they will participate again next year.

“Roberto’s reported a 100% increase in sales and had to start turning customers away because they got so busy,” said Verdisco.

Verdisco said Osteria Romana owners reported a 38% increase in sales that week. Even better, she said, Osteria Romana had 55% more people visiting the restaurant, of which 40% were first-time customers.

The first “Monroe Restaurant Week” celebration, a seven-day promotion of the town’s eateries, ran from Oct. 16 through 22 and included Bella Rosa, Buffalo Bills, Carl Anthony’s, Jennie’s Pizzeria, The Last Drop, MacDaddy’s, McGowans, Monroe Social, Mr. Mac’s Canteen, Nostrano, Osteria Romana, Roberto’s, Sal’s, Soup Thyme, and Vazzy’s. Participating restaurants offered prix-fixe dining menus for lunch and dinner.

“This will definitely be an annual event,” said First Selectman Steve Vavrek, who has spent several years pushing for its creation. “We’ve heard from many of the participating restaurants, and they said the week sparked an increase in business.”

The Monroe Economic Development Commission’s main focus is to improve the town’s economic and social well-being, said Verdisco, and “Restaurant Week is the perfect venture to bolster the economic vitality of Monroe with an emphasis on the vibrant restaurant experiences available in this quaint New England town.”

And Vavrek said this is just the first step for what is a strong Economic Development Commission, head by Verdisco. He said the commission will be meeting with the Planning & Zoning Commission later this week to lay out the best course of action in working together to increase business development in Monroe.

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