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Restaurant Supply

Local restaurants to compete in Downtown South Bend Restaurant Weeks

Beginning next week, fourteen downtown South Bend restaurants will participate in a two-week special many have come to know as Restaurant Week.

In its 10th year, Restaurant Week was created by the Downtown Dining Association and Downtown South Bend, Inc. as a way for restaurants to collaborate with one another and to entice customers to come to downtown South Bend and try locally-owned restaurants that they normally would not. The hope, then, is to create an impression with guests that will bring them back often. Restaurants create specialty menus for the event that are priced at $11, $22 or $33. 

“We’re trying to drag people away from Grape Road,” said Mark McDonnell, proprietor of LaSalle Grill, in 2011 during its inception. “We can’t control what people think of downtown and their perception of downtown, but we can try to change it. We have to exploit the great things we have and (the Mishawaka chains) don’t. Like connectivity, walkability and the river.”

And for the most part, it’s worked. 

“We thought it was important to support all of our locally-owned restaurants and to make us a dining destination,” said Peg Dalton, co-owner of PEGGS. “When I talk about PEGGS and its success over the years, this is one of the five things I point to that has contributed to our growth.”

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Typically, the bi-annual event occurs in the summer and winter and lasts for just one week. However, due to the coronavirus, last summer’s event was canceled and organizers opted for a month-long special last November to give customers time to make reservations and to visit the restaurants despite capacity limits that were in place at the time. 

PEGGS in South Bend will be one of 14 restaurants in downtown participating in Restaurant Week from July 26 through Aug. 8.

With capacity limits and other restrictions lifted, customers are eating out more than ever and organizers have opted to extend this summer’s event for two weeks in order to keep up with the anticipated demand. The downtown Wine Walk events, which also are organized by the DDA and DTSB, have sold out for the summer’s last two occurrences with 400 attendees.

“It’s clear that people want to get out,” McDonnell said. 

But the restaurant industry already is facing its fair share of obstacles this year. Staff shortages have plagued the industry, with many restaurants having to limit hours or menu options during regular operations. Food costs have risen and some ingredient shortages also have occurred, creating questions about when supply will come in and whether to raise menu prices.