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Frigid temps prompt talk of Restaurant Week extension

This week’s sub-zero temperatures have thrown a chill into the first few days of the Miami Valley Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Week, and some restaurant owners favor extending the promotion into a second week.

More than 50 Dayton-area restaurants are participating in the Restaurant Week promotion, scheduled for Jan. 26-Feb. 2, by offering special three-course meals for $20.14, $25.14 or $30.14, with $1 from each meal sold allocated to local charities.

There is precedent for an extension: In the winter of 2009, the MVRA decided to add a week to Restaurant Week after a snowstorm kept diners at home. The strategy worked: The 2009 Winter Restaurant Week shattered all previous records, with the number of meals served exceeding 20,000.

It’s too early to say whether the MVRA will do the same thing this year. The weather is supposed to improve considerably starting Wednesday. And restaurants have already ordered and received their deliveries of the foods and supplies they needed for a one-week promotion, according to Amy Zahora, the MVRA’s executive director.

Dominique Fortin, co-owner and executive chef of C’est Tout Bistro in Oakwood, said he received multiple cancellations of Monday and Tuesday night reservations because of the frigid temperatures. Although he is optimistic about a turnaround later in the week, Fortin said he would like to see the offer extended to a second week.

Amy Haverstick, owner of Jay’s Restaurant in Dayton, also said business was slow Monday night, and reservations were scant for Tuesday night. She has discussed the possibility of an extension, “but we wanted to wait and see what the weather brought before we go forward.”

Zahora said Tuesday that she was preparing an email survey of member restaurants that are participating in Restaurant Week to determine their preference regarding an extension. All kinds of restaurants have joined the promotion, from sports bars to casual restaurants to fine-dining establishments, and Zahora said there is sure to be varying viewpoints on whether to add a week.

“But I’ve talked to four or five restaurants that suggested maybe we should” extend the Restaurant week promotion, she said.

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