After a successful inaugural event last year, the Hopkinton Chamber of Commerce’s Restaurant Week will return May 13-22. “The restaurants really benefited from it and wanted to keep it going,” says Bryan Brown, chair of the Restaurant Week Committee. “We got a lot of really, really good feedback … and this year, we’re trying to make it even bigger and better than it was last year.”
Co-organizer Ted Twinney of Start Line Brewing, one of last year’s participants, says the boost in business was “wonderful,” noting the challenges restaurants experienced during the pandemic. “It was nice to have the community come out and support us during those difficult months.”
Participating restaurants are offering specials throughout the week as well as raffle boxes at each location where patrons can enter for a chance to win $50 gift certificates. Last year, many non-restaurant businesses sponsored the event by purchasing gift certificates for the raffle. “It was a really cool thing to happen … the non-restaurants helping support the restaurants,” says Brown.
Customer experience will be a focal point for this year’s event, Brown says. “Whereas last year was really about helping the restaurants through a difficult time, this year is more your traditional restaurant feel and bringing new items to the customers,” he says.
Start Line Brewing, which has a new smoker and several expanded offerings, will be “coming back strong with our barbecue program,” says Twinney. The restaurant’s Big Show barbecue platter, for example, will be piled high with brisket, ribs, pulled pork, confit chicken thigh, cold bean salad and house-made jalapeño cornbread.
Samantha Prescott, owner of The Spoon and The Spoonery, also participated in the inaugural Restaurant Week and says she “really wanted to do things that were interactive with the community. It was just as exciting for us to see people out as it was for people to be out.” Again this year, The Spoonery will host a contest in which patrons estimate the amount of candy in a jar, and the two closest guesses will win free ice cream for the season. At The Spoon, Restaurant Week punch cards will be distributed and customers will receive a free meal on their fifth visit.
“Last year, it went really well,” Prescott says. “We were able to really start building some new clientele, and I think the people in town maybe tried out different places that they wouldn’t have before.” The event is a way for residents to show support for small businesses, Prescott adds, “but it’s also a way to say thank you to them as well for helping us get through these past few years.”
Prescott says support from other restaurants in town has also been meaningful to her. “With the shared hardships that we’ve had over the past few years, I think it’s created a stronger community within all of us,” she says. “It’s nice to go someplace and not feel like you’re the only one going through it. Everybody has kind words to say if you’ve had a rough week or vice versa because it’s all a rollercoaster in the restaurant industry.”
Added Twinney: “We’ve been through kind of a rough go of it the last couple of years. People coming out, not only during Restaurant Week but supporting us ongoing, is really critical to us having these amenities in town, and I think everybody values these amenities. So, it’s really nice if people could show us that support.”
The following restaurants committed to participating in Restaurant Week by late April (additional establishments may be added): Angel’s Cafe/Red Barn Coffee Roasters, Bill’s Downtown Pizzeria & Bar, Central Public House, Cornell’s Irish Pub, Dynasty Chinese Restaurant, Hillers Pizza, Hop-Yo, Lone Wolf BBQ, Pan Thai, Quattro, The Spoon, The Spoonery, Start Line Brewing and 110 Grill.