Schenectady Restaurant Week to be true to its name

For the first time, Schenectady’s restaurant week will be a true weeklong event.

For the first time, Schenectady’s restaurant week will be a true weeklong event.

The promotion will run Monday to Sunday, beginning Feb. 20. The fixed price for a three-course meal is $20.12.

Many restaurants had informally stretched the week in the past — either starting a day early or continuing it through Sunday. But they had to either buy extra advertising to promote that or hope that it spread through word of mouth, since the official promotion focused on the Tuesday through Saturday event.

Turf Tavern owner Tom Gallant was one of the many who always extended the week through Sunday.

“Just because it’s good business,” he said. “I think it’s a good change.”

But he will only take advantage of six days of the promotion — his restaurant is closed Mondays. He plans to go out to eat at one of the other restaurants participating in the promotion on that day.

Other restaurant owners are thinking about changing their hours to accommodate the full week.

Alto Grille at the Parker Inn is usually closed Sundays, but it might open for restaurant week, manager Rich St. Jean said.

“We may. The only time we usually have our kitchen open on Sunday is when the theater has a show,” he said. “It’s tough on Sundays. The downtown is pretty quiet. That’s why we went away from Sundays.”

Down the street at Aperitivo Bistro, which is open daily, co-owner Peter Blackman was lukewarm about the change.

“I like the previous setup,” he said, but added, “I think it’s always good to try something new and mix it up.”

Still, it means his staff is in for a hard month.

“It’s a little challenging this year, coming right between Valentine’s week and ‘Jersey Boys,’ ” he said, referring to the musical coming to Proctors.

The promotion is usually held in late January or early February, but it was moved this year so it wouldn’t conflict with weeks that already had big events downtown.

“We want to make sure it’s at a time that we’re not competing with any shows that are bringing out people anyway,” Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp. Executive Director Jim Salengo said. “It gives restaurants a nice infusion of customers at a slower time.”

The organizers also try to run the promotion right before a big show at Proctors, to introduce restaurants to theatergoers.

“Maybe if they find a place they like, they can make another reservation for before the show,” Salengo said.

Restaurant owners are hoping the weather stays mild this year. Last year, a storm kept customers away for part of the week, leading organizers to announce an impromptu weeklong extension.

This time, owner Pat Popolizio of Waters Edge Lighthouse said, the weather seems to be cooperating.

“A lot of my customers are commenting, when they’re in my restaurant looking out, it feels like summer,” he said.

His restaurant, which overlooks the Mohawk River, is closed Sundays and Mondays, so he’ll miss the extra days added to the promotion this year. But he thinks making it longer was a good idea.

“I think it’s wonderful,” he said. “It’s nice for a lot of people who are open seven days. It helps the restaurant economy a little bit.”

To read the Restaurant Week menus for all 28 participating restaurants, go to

Categories: Business, Schenectady County

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