Photo by Alexandre Nguyen
Restoration week is back from Sunday, but a staff shortage is forcing owners to ask customers for patience.
With over 100 participating restaurants across the county, it’s a chance for people to broaden their culinary horizons, said Andy Baumann, President of Restaurant Week. He is also the owner of the Tom Ham Lighthouse on Shelter Island.
“If Restaurant Week is a way for someone to get a discount to come and see my location and be a fan of ours forever, that’s why we’re participating in Restaurant Week,” he said. . “This is our 17th year.”
Participating restaurants will offer prix fixe menus ranging from $ 10 to $ 25 per person for a two-course lunch and $ 20 to $ 60 for a three-course dinner.
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With all the pivoting that restaurants have been doing over the past 18 months or so, the owner of One Door North and The Smoking Goat in North Park, Tammy Pehl, was wondering how to support her staff. She said just having restaurant week again is a welcome change.
“With Restaurant Week and the reopening of restaurants, it has been great to have allayed that concern,” she said.
While many people are happy to eat out again, restaurant owners ask people to be patient as they still struggle to hire waiters. The staff shortage particularly affected the restaurant industry.
Baumann said he struggled to hire people for various positions, such as dishwashers. Restaurant owners have increased their wages, but some people are not yet ready to return to work.
“People don’t really apply,” Baumann said. “It’s not just us, it’s delivery services too. It’s lower level jobs like our dishwashers, the guys loading the trucks… that’s usually what happens.”
While the dining experience isn’t what many are used to before the pandemic, the owners say diners should let their servers down a bit and enjoy the experience.
“Everyone is eager to come out, some haven’t been out for over 18 months,” he said. “And they want to come out and they want the service to be exactly the way it was back then. Well, we’re not an Amazon factory.”
Restaurant Week runs from Sunday September 26 to October 3. Click here for a list of participating restaurants.
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