Restaurant week is an event celebrated nationwide that highlights local eateries of towns and cities. The city of Huntsville, Texas decided to participate in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and received great feedback, which it hoped to replicate the second time around.
“We started it here to try and give a big boost to those restaurants that were struggling or maybe that were new that weren’t very well known,” visitor center coordinator in the tourism department Jessica Lacy said.
In 2020, Restaurant Week had 19 participating restaurants and anyone who ate at these restaurants could receive different prizes throughout the week.
Only four restaurants participated this year. Lacy mentioned they are short staffed at the visitor center, which could have played a factor in getting the word out but she knows there were other reasons restaurants who chose not to participate.
“This year, because we were so short-staffed, really all we could do was a simple mailout to all those places,” Lacy said.
Owner of the Five Loaves Deli and restaurant week participant Judy Owens reflects on the effects the past two years has had on her restaurant.
“It taught us to improvise,” Owens said.
Owens did not have to close during the pandemic, but recent inflation has caused another worry.
“We did have to go up a little bit on some of our things,” Owens said.
With the fluctuating economy, the prices of chicken, bacon, avocado and plasticware have gone up, which are primary essentials at the deli. Owens is willing to pay extra for these products in order to keep her menu full but that does mean a 50-cent raise in pricing on certain meals.
Despite the potential hardships that may come to restaurants and the low participation, some have hopes for the event.
“I hope it brings awareness to our new business because not a lot of people know about it,” café manager Ally Miller said. “I hope more people come and try our food.”