Restaurants, bars optimistic as downtown Raleigh’s restaurant week gets underway

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Friday was the official toast to downtown Raleigh’s restaurant week.

“It’s insane. Everybody wants to come out. Everyone wants to have a great meal. Everybody wants to get a great deal. Thank God we are able to do that,” said Parker Kennedy.

Kennedy is the owner of Caffe Luna in downtown Raleigh. He said he’s optimistic that this year is better than last year.

“It was takeout restaurant week. It was very difficult. It wasn’t the same thing. People want to get out. They want to have a good time right and be with each other,” he explained.

Last year was a tough year for everyone, especially restaurants and bars.

“We were having a lot of trouble. Nobody was coming out. We were trying to keep our people making enough money so they could survive,” Kennedy said.

Last year around this time, there were capacity limits indoors. The Downtown Raleigh Alliance encouraged people to chow down outside or grab take-out.

This year?

“Busy, busy, busy. So far, we have pretty much every single table taken,” said Elkin Giraldo, general manager of Young Hearts Distilling Co.

It appears it’s going to be a profitable week for Young Hearts Distilling Co., which opened its doors just a few months ago.

According to a market report from Downtown Raleigh Alliance, from summer 2020 to this summer, downtown food and beverage sales saw a more than 143 percent jump.

“Lots of people coming in throughout the 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. period and then just lots of drinkers at night. So, it’s been a lot of fun. Not even three months in and even been able to do some cool stuff,” Giraldo said.

Two dozen restaurants are participating in this year’s restaurant week.

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