Inaugural restaurant week seen as success

July is normally a slow month for the restaurant business.

But Marian McGill, a server at Providence Café, saw her earnings last week jump 50 percent.

That's because it was Charlotte Restaurant Week, a new event this year in which 42 upscale restaurants in Charlotte offered three-course meals for $30.

While complete numbers aren't in yet, event organizer Bruce Hensley said the feedback has been so positive that the event's sponsors are already considering having another one in January.

“For an inaugural effort, it was successful beyond our wildest dreams,” Hensley said.

While an encore event won't enter the planning stages until profit figures have been gathered, at least six restaurants have decided on their own to continue their Restaurant Week menu specials, Hensley said.

Blue Restaurant and Bar, Cajun Queen, Carpe Diem, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Providence Café and Zebra are all continuing the special for various lengths of time. (See menus at www.charlotterestaurantweek.com.)

Rob Laatz, a manager at Oceanaire, said the restaurant will continue to offer the deal through Friday because of high demand.

“We were taking people all the way up to 10 p.m., which is when we close,” he said. “Usually on a weekday, we don't see a whole lot of people coming in after 9.”

Don Both, owner of Providence Café, will continue the special through the end of July.

“Everybody could use a break nowadays,” he said. “And since July is such a slow month, this promotion helps not only our patrons but our staff too.”

McGill, meanwhile, said she's enjoying the extra padding in her wallet: “Maybe I'll finally be able to buy some new furniture for the house.”