Jeff McDonald had to turn more than 500 people away from his restaurant last week because he just didn’t have the space to accommodate them.
The owner of the Stockade Inn experienced a problem that most restaurateurs would be delighted to have during the mid-February lull.
In its eighth year, Schenectady Restaurant Week had a nearly $250,000 economic impact on the region last week, when 23 participating restaurants offered three-course meals for $20.13, according to the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation.
“I hope this event continues each year,” McDonald said.
The DSIC and Chamber of Schenectady County collected and tabulated surveys from more than 500 people who visited participating restaurants during Restaurant Week, with each guest spending an average of $32.55 at a venue.
“Restaurant Week 2013 had a major effect on our local eateries with nearly 7,000 dinners served at the participating restaurants,” said DSIC Executive Director Jim Salengo in a news release issued Thursday.
More than 82 percent of participating venues reported an increase in business.
Barring Valentine’s Day, February tends to be a slow season for the restaurant business — the driving factor behind many towns and cities hosting their own restaurant weeks this time of year. In Schenectady County, 17 percent of Restaurant Week diners surveyed had visited a participating restaurant for the first time, while half of those surveyed would not have dined out that evening had it not been for the special pricing.
Cafe NOLA owner Kevin Brown said he saw many new faces throughout the week, while Water’s Edge Lighthouse owner Karen Popolizio said she was “thrilled” with the turnout. Turf Tavern owner Tom Gallant told The Daily Gazette last week that reservations were up at his Scotia restaurant because of the event.
But other local businesses, including Bangkok Bistro and Katie O’Byrne’s, told the Gazette last week that business seemed to be a little slow at the start of the promotion.
For Maria Perreca Papa, of More Perreca’s on Jay Street, the annual promotion just keeps better and better.
“Customers were looking for value along with an enjoyable dining experience and seemed to research their options more than ever,” she said in the news release. “Of course, we saw regulars throughout the week, but we were very pleased by the number of Restaurant Week patrons who mentioned they were trying us for the first time.
“Schenectady is the perfect location for Restaurant Week because of the diversity in our eating establishments. It’s a win-win for customers and business owners alike.”