Tracey Clark, a waitress at Tucker's Cafe on Commerce Drive, had just finished stamping the "passport" of some diners Wednesday afternoon.
"It really seems to be taking off," Clark said of the town-organized Restaurant Week, which runs through Saturday. Asked if the promotion, which includes passports that can be used for discounts at local retailers and entry in a raffle, is bringing in new customers to the eatery, Clark said, "absolutely."
Participating restaurants are serving special lunches for $10 and $15 and dinners for $20 and $30 through the end of the week, and some have set discounts on existing menu prices.
At midpoint of the weeklong event, which features 34 of the town's burgeoning lineup of restaurants offering fixed-price meals, Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart said he's pleased with the feedback he had received so far.
"I talked to a small sample of restaurants and retailers the other day, and the feedback has been generally positive," Barnhart said.
The passport not only allows diners to collect stamps for entry in a raffle, it also enables them to qualify for discounts at 18 retailers in town, ranging from 20 percent off at La Moda Fashions to a member discount on performances at the Fairfield Theatre Company.
Marty Levine, owner of Martel's on Post Road, said the restaurant has enjoyed a "nice response" to the promotion.
"I think it's doing exactly what it's positioned to do -- bring in patrons," he said.
Levine said he would be willing to participate in a Restaurant Week promotion once a year.
Barnhart said they wanted to involve the whole community in the event, and that's why it was expanded to include retailers, as well as cultural events like book-signings, concerts and museum tours.
"There's a lot going on in town, and not just downtown," Barnhart said. "We want to make sure people are aware of that."
Passports with stamps from two or more restaurants are eligible for the raffle drawing. Top prize is a night's stay in deluxe accommodations at the Delamar Hotel in Southport. Other prizes range from an adult learn-to-skate package at the Fairfield Ice Academy to a $25 gift certificate to the Fairfield Cheese Shop. Passports must be returned by Tuesday, Oct. 23, and Barnhart said the drawing will take place the week of Oct. 29.
After Fairfield Restaurant Week winds down, Barnhart said, "We're going to try and learn from our experience. What we did right, (and) what we could improve upon by talking to each of the restaurants and retailers."
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