Restaurants Get Boost By Offering Deals

This has been a tough quarter for Connecticut businesses, but some New Haven restaurants are trying to give themselves an economic stimulus by making it a little cheaper to dine out.

Twenty five New Haven restaurants are offering $29 fixed price dinners and $16.38 lunches this week.

At Soul de Cuba Cafe, diners were out for a Restaurant Week deal Monday.

"This is great for Monday night," manager Matthew Bedard said. "We are normally closed, so we opened up special for Restaurant Week and customers have been coming out all day." 
"It helps the restaurants and it helps the individuals," said Ara Cely, who was in New Haven to visit Yale from California.
The goal is to lure in business, when business is tough.
"It's very hard," Bedard said. "We've been blessed. We have a great customer base and Yale supports us very much, but it's a struggle every day. Every customer counts."

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz just counted up how many businesses closed so far this year, and it's not good -- 3,477 businesses closed in the first quarter of 2009. That's the most in one quarter since the state started keeping track in 2000.
And start-ups are down too. Only 6,941 businesses opened, according to the Secretary of the State's Office.
Bysiewicz is calling on Connecticut to get small businesses the federal stimulus money right away, but restaurants hope Restaurant Week serves up a stimulus all its own.
The drinks and the illuminated bar are the showcase of 116 Crown, another Restaurant Week participant.
Owners there say despite the recession, business is king.

"We opened in the beginning of the recession, so to be honest, I don't know any other climate for business," said owner John Ginnetti. "It's interesting. We've actually gotten more popular as time went on."

Patrons are doing their part to help keep these New Haven restaurants and other Connecticut businesses from falling victim to tough times.

"Live your life as you would normally want to live it, otherwise Main Street is going to follow Wall Street," said Tom Kelly of Milford.

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