Bronx participation lags again for NYC & Company Restaurant Week

People enjoy food and drinks at Home BX Steakhouse located at 224 W. 238th St. The restaurant is participating in NYC & Company’s Restaurant Week for the first time.
Photo ET Rodriguez

It’s the first NYC & Company Restaurant Week of the year – a nearly month-long, biannual event created in 1992 to encourage the patronage of restaurants across the five boroughs. Through Feb. 12, 524 restaurants are participating by featuring prix-fixe lunch and/or dinner menus at their establishments which range from $30 to $60.

Yet, out of the hundreds of locations to choose from, only nine are from the Bronx.

Lisa Sorin, the president for the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, believes the continual lack of Bronx participation is due to a breakdown in communication. “The way it’s being communicated, which is unknown to me, our restaurants aren’t getting the information. Whether it’s a language barrier or a technological barrier,” she told the Bronx Times.

As a result, the chamber began developing a restaurant and hospitality guide last summer that is broken down by community boards and will also be available through an online mapping tool. “We expect it to go live in March 2023 and afford Bronx restaurants another tool to develop their businesses further while also enhancing Bronx tourism efforts,” said Sorin.

NYC & Company says it informs eateries about Restaurant Week through local business improvement districts, email blasts, social media and several other channels.

“We do plenty of outreach,” said Alyssa Schmid, vice president of domestic communications.

A cornucopia of food is showcased out at Seis Vecinos, one of the nine participating Bronx restaurants for NYC & Company’s first Restaurant Week of 2023. Photo Jason Cohen

The nine participants in this iteration is an increase from 2021’s summer Restaurant Week where there were 530 establishments citywide participating, but only six from the Bronx. And the years prior saw even less participation, according to the Bronx Chamber of Commerce.

NYC & Company was unable to provide numbers on the history of Bronx participation in Restaurant Week to the Bronx Times.

The lack of representation has been a longstanding issue for Bronx restaurateurs. So much so, that the Riverdale neighborhood took matters into its own hands launching its own version of restaurant week last August, according to organizer Laura Levine-Pinedo, who managed to get 29 eateries in the Northwest corner of the borough to participate for $100 a pop.

Meanwhile, the fee to join NYC & Company’s restaurant week is $1,000.

Norman Martinez, general manager of Home BX Steakhouse in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, said that he received an email from NYC & Company informing him that the participation fee would be waived as part of early registration, and he jumped on the offer.

“It’s been good because we have more business to be honest. We have new customers that have been asking about restaurant week – but the Bronx is not Manhattan,” said Martinez who is joining restaurant week for the first time since opening in February 2022. The steakhouse will be offering a dinner prix-fixe menu for $60.

Artie’s restaurant in City Island also had the fee waived and will be providing both lunch and dinner prix-fixes at $30 and $45, respectively. The restaurant has been on the island for more than 50 years and has a loyal following of locals.

Artie’s has been participating in restaurant week “as far as I can remember,” said Spiros Chagares, who has been the owner and executive chef for 27 years. “It’s a wonderful deal and we don’t chins’ on anything, it’s a real meal and people should take advantage of it.” he said.

The seven other participating Bronx restaurants can be found here. Bon appétit!

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