Schenectady eateries add courses to get in on Restaurant Week promotion

Alcohol and four-course meals are coming to Restaurant Week.

For more info

The full list of participating restaurants and their prix fixe menus are available at

Alcohol and four-course meals are coming to Restaurant Week.

This year’s five-day celebration of Schenectady dining will include casual restaurants that normally can’t participate because their prices are lower than the $19.59 fixed price for Restaurant Week. Those restaurants have added courses, drinks and in some cases even beer and wine to join the event.

“People are getting creative,” said DSIC Executive Director Jim Salengo.

At Bombers, where a burrito costs just $8, the Restaurant Week menu includes two draft beers or a 16-ounce mixed drink as well as the event’s traditional appetizer, entree and dessert.

At Katie O’Byrne’s, diners get four courses and a $4 drink for their $19.59.

The Moon & River Cafe is also offering a free nonalcoholic drink in addition to the typical three courses, and Taj Mahal has put together a Restaurant Week menu with five courses, although one is naan (flatbread) and rice.

At the many fine dining restaurants in the county, drinks are not included in the Restaurant Week special. And they stick strictly to the three-course meal, offering pricey starters like steamed clams or shrimp, expensive cuts of meat as entrees and fancy desserts.

For them, $19.59 is the break-even point, Salengo said.

“We know $20 is the price point. But there are some places where three courses wouldn’t add up to that amount,” he said. “So this is a way for more casual restaurants to participate.”

This year’s Restaurant Week is keyed to the 1950s musical “Grease,” which will run at Proctors Jan. 26-31.

The event began in 2006 as a way to bring business to Schenectady’s restaurants during one of the slowest times of the year. It has been a complete success: restaurants are now so busy that most diners must make reservations.

And even though the restaurants are slammed every night by diners who buy only from the prix fixe menu, they eagerly sign up every year.

“In this economy, whatever gets the person through the door,” said Ambition Cafe owner Mark Reston. “January is notorious for being slow in the restaurant business.”

This year there hasn’t been much of a slowdown in business, with the Broadway tour of “Wicked” keeping restaurants busy until the show wrapped last week. Bombers, for example, has enjoyed steady business with no slowdown in sight.

But Bombers Vice President Jim Vann said he signed up for the event anyway because it sounded like fun.

“We’d like to be involved in what’s going on in the area,” he said, adding that he won’t mind long lines. “We made it through ‘Wicked.’ ”

Restaurant Week in Schenectady is traditionally only five days long, beginning Tuesday, Jan. 19 and ending Saturday. The event began that way because some of the first participants always closed on Mondays.

But with Albany offering a full week for its Restaurant Week (in October), there is some talk of extending Schenectady’s week to seven days in the future.

“It’s definitely something to consider,” Salengo said.

He added that the week is already hard on restaurants. Owners must usually schedule extra staff all week.

“It’s five days, but it kind of takes over your business for five days,” Salengo said.

Categories: Business

Leave a Reply