One way to celebrate the end of the worst winter in recent memory is to get out and enjoy spring — yes, it did start Thursday.
Naperville restaurants suffered from the blustery weather, too, and are making sure you have reasons to get out and about by resurrecting the art of happy hour — or all day in some cases.
Just ask Sue Maloney, who handles publicity and marketing for the Naperville Newcomers and Neighbors Club, which has grown to about 350 members.
“I started with a downtown directory of restaurants here in Naperville and made a lot of calls asking about how business was going and what specials or half-price things they were offering,” Maloney said. “We’ve published a list on our website and keep adding to it over time. I asked each of the restaurants if they mind that we posted information about them and their offerings, and they were happy to do it.”
Maloney’s interest in finding a good bang for the buck at local eateries is something she sees as a win-win, both for members of the club as well as the restaurants.
“A lot of these deals are offered during slower times at the restaurants or at various times throughout the day because the weather has really caused some restaurants to be hit hard,” she said. “For people in our club who have taken advantage of this, they get out of the house and socialize with others, and save money while they eat or drink. The restaurants, of course, are happy to get the business.”
Maloney said she and her husband have been doing their part in downtown Naperville.
“My husband and I go to Catch 35 every week, and I love the things they have like half-price crab cakes and beef tenderloin slices,” she said.
Justin Beyer, manager at Naperville’s Heaven on Seven, agrees that the harsh winter has adversely affected business and says half-priced food and daily specials are offered to get folks out of their houses and through the door.
“We have a blue-plate special at lunch as well as half-price deals at the bar after 4 p.m., and we’re hoping they attract people to come in, try the food, and hopefully come back,” Beyer said. “We all have seen business get a lot slower this winter and know it’s hard to park here in downtown Naperville and have to walk somewhere. This is a way to entice people to come in and see what we offer.”
Ray Kinney, president of Dine Naperville, which has been offering its own promotion of local eateries in the past few weeks, says that the half-price options “are a part of the same mentality we used in putting together Restaurant Week in Naperville.”
“Whatever can be used to promote eating locally here, we’re all for it,” Kinney said. “Restaurants have struggled to get people out and this is another way to do that.”
Corey Knowles, manager at Bar Louie in downtown Naperville, says efforts have been ramped up this year to combat the drop-off in business because of the weather.
“We know that nobody wants to go out and start his car and drive here given the car probably won’t even be warm by the time they arrive,” he said. “But once we get them in the door, we feel we’ll have them. We want people to taste our food, and we’re offering some half-price deals to do that.”