For one week a year, local restaurants have been able to open themselves up to new customers via Elk Grove Restaurant Week. This year, the event is a boost for these businesses at a time when they need it the most.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit restaurants hard due to state and Sacramento County health guidelines that have forced business owners to provide limited capacity dining or to make the move to take out only at certain points of the past 10 months.
Having the extra exposure of Elk Grove Restaurant Week on Jan. 15-24 is helping some to get the word out about their business, however, as they navigate the pandemic. This event is organized by Explore Elk Grove, which promotes the city as a destination.
“We had a customer try the food and she was so excited about it,” Maharani India Restaurant co-owner Shanta Singh said.
This is Maharani India Restaurant’s first year participating in the restaurant week. Singh noted that she’s had to close down the restaurant’s buffet, but they offer lunch specials and takeout instead.
“Instead of buffet, we’re going to do something else,” Singh said, adding that they plan to shorten the menu as well.
Marie Mertz, owner of Todo un Poco, put out tables last week after outdoor dining was opened up but she has a well-planned setup for customers who still prefer takeout.
“We installed a pick up window for safety measures,” she said. “We’ve been doing that since the beginning to minimize contact. Safety has been a very big issue for us. We have sanitizers for when people are paying and picking up their food, we have gloves available. We have minimal staff so everyone can stay apart. We’re in surviving mode right now.”
When asked how the restaurant has been coping, Mertz was straightforward.
“Just like everyone else,” she replied.
In addition to offering Mexican and Italian food, customers may find a jewel with Todo Un Poco’s pizza offerings, which can be experienced through the restaurant’s EGRW Passport deal as well as a daily deal this week.
“We offer a great selection of pizzas,” Mertz said. “We have 15 specialty pizzas and we also have a pizza of the day for Restaurant Week.”
While Todo Un Poco had to trim its staff, she was happy to announce that the restaurant is currently looking to hire a pizza person and kitchen staff.
The S.E.A. Hut, which recently celebrated its third anniversary, offers an array of salads, soups, chicken skewers, loaded S.E.A. fries and Lao pork sausage.
S.E.A. Hut owner Mora Som said, however, that boba drinks and banh mi are also popular.
She said she has made her share of adjustments to the restaurant over the past 10 months to help propel business.
“We actually offer happy hour all day; that’s what’s helping us as well,” Som said.
S.E.A. Hut has “actually been pretty steady” as far as business goes and Som said that she appreciates the opportunity that Elk Grove Restaurant Week is giving S.E.A. Hut as far as being close to the community.
“(It’s ) just being a part of the community,” Som said. “I know social media’s a really powerful platform, especially during this time. Anything that can help get the word out that S.E.A. Hut is here.