With celebratory dining, craft beers, wine flights, small bites and patio areas, eating out in Lombard can offer a variety of experiences beyond just food, say those behind the first Lombard Restaurant Week planned for Friday through Sept. 16.
"Lombard has got some really great opportunities for dining that we wanted to showcase," said Lauren Rullo, sales manager at Buca di Beppo's Lombard location near Yorktown Center. "We wanted to remind the community we have some great, different, unique things to offer as far as dining out is concerned."
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Buca di Beppo and six other eateries are participating in Restaurant Week by offering meal deals to introduce new customers to their menus and welcome returning diners back, said Rullo, who developed the idea with Jasmine Carlson of Weber Grill's Lombard location.
Along with Buca and Weber Grill, diners will find deals lasting 10 days at Glen Prairie, Harry Caray's/Holy Mackarel!, Lucky Strike Lanes, Miller's Lombard Ale House and Rock Bottom Brewery.
"We extended it to make sure everyone has an opportunity to try a couple different restaurants," Rullo said.
Organizers didn't restrict the menus or deals participating restaurants could offer, but did suggest two tiers of pricing -- a $10 lunch deal and $20 dinner deal, or a $15 lunch and a $35 dinner.
Carlson said she and Rullo based their idea on Oak Brook's annual restaurant week, thinking Lombard restaurants also could benefit from a similar time to highlight their offerings. The pair brought the idea to the Lombard Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry and also has gained advertising support from the village of Lombard and the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"We wanted to be able to do something for our restaurants," Yvonne Invergo, executive director of the Lombard chamber, said. "It's very difficult for them to attend our events because our events are typically held during their busiest times."
The chamber's website lists participating restaurants and provides their Restaurant Week menus, many of which offer choices of three courses for the lunch and dinner deals.
"It's a way for the chamber to promote some of the excellent restaurants we have in Lombard," Invergo said about the participating businesses, all of which are chamber members.
Rullo said she hopes the restaurant week can be a starting point connecting Lombard's eateries and possibly leading to future partnerships and promotions. Other restaurants that considered participating but declined may be interested if the first year goes well, she added.