Niles celebrating "restaurant week" to promote local businesses

NILES, Mich. -- An entire year has passed with small businesses fighting to keep their doors open. Michigan still has strict restrictions in place on restaurants only operating at a 25% capacity with a curfew of 10 p.m. Now local county leaders are stepping up for theses business owners. The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has adopted two new resolutions in hopes of improving business for local restaurants.

First, the entire month of March has been declared as “restaurant month.” An idea pitched by the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber to encourage citizens to frequent local restaurants. The chamber also planning on working with businesses to put on specials and promotions in celebration of the event.

The second resolution encourages the state of Michigan to adopt a new regional approach to any future restrictions. The chamber explains Indiana has had less restrictions on restaurants this year, and even so, St. Joseph County currently is experiencing a lower positivity rate than Berrien County.

This fact, leading to the chambers second point, that such close proximity to another state operating its businesses at full capacity, is an additional challenge for Berrien County restaurants. Local leaders believe a regional approach to restrictions will help for businesses that face heavy competition with nearby restaurants across state lines. However, it was just a proposed resolution sent out to elected officials. For the time being, Michigan’s restrictions are still operating at a statewide view point.

The restaurant month initiative was inspired after Niles announced this week as restaurant week. The Greater Niles Chamber and Niles Main Street have declared March 1st through the 7th as the first ever “restaurant week.” The initiative comes after a long, hard year on small businesses fighting to stay afloat.

It is an entire week full of specials and promotions to encourage citizens to support local. There are a total of 18 participating restaurants and each restaurant has a proposed, special menu for the week.

Here is a little “taste” of what you can expect. El Amigo Pepe, a staple to the Niles community for authentic Mexican food, is introducing a special menu. Another exciting menu for the week at Joey Armadillo’s! For all you pizza lovers, specialty pizzas all week long.

And even better? You have the chance to win big! During the course of the week, customers are encouraged to submit photos of their dining experience, dine in or take out, by posting photos on Instagram or Facebook with the #EatDrinkNiles. You can submit a photo for every restaurant you visit. A photo contest winner will be chosen randomly every day of the week and will be announced on Eat Drink Niles social media pages. The prize? Gift cards to local restaurants! You can find further special menus here.

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