Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2015 5:30 am | Updated: 10:01 am, Thu Oct 22, 2015.
By Joann Mackenzie Staff Writer
“Let the games begin,” says Mark McDonough of Cape Ann’s newly conceived, newly named and newly energized annual autumn restaurant tradition.
No longer called Restaurant Week, and no longer lasting just a week but two, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce’s new “Dine Out Cape Ann” has signed up no fewer than 17 of the area’s favorite food destinations to “put their best feet forward and show us what they got,” says McDonough.
For McDonough, who remembers past autumns when Restaurant Week really was all that it was cooked up to be, the old recipe had simply lost its sizzle. Like the three-piece suit, the three-course meal has had its day, and the old Restaurant Week model had been built on a prix fixe three-course menu.
The price was right, but the model was wrong. Too formal, too inflexible, too reminiscent of a time when dining rooms were ruled by dress codes, and menus were printed in French.
“People just don’t necessarily want to dine like that anymore,” says Samantha Parker, marketing and public relations director of McDonough’s Serenitee restaurant group, “but that’s how they had to dine on the old Restaurant Week model.”
For Parker, a Gloucester native with a Boston PR background, the model was out of synch with 21st century dining trends.
For chefs, too, the model was outmoded.
New American cuisine has evolved into a free-for-all of fusion inventiveness. Like fashion itself, where heels with jeans, and jeans with holes, and stripes with plaids rule the runways, the only rules are no rules; and in today’s innovative restaurants, the same applies in both the front and the back of the house.
The old Restaurant Week model just didn’t reflect any of this, says Parker. And although it had once been exciting and competitive, says McDonough, by last year, when the number of participating restaurants had dwindled to just seven, it was time to hit the reset button.
Read the full article on gloucestertimes.com