Niles Restaurant Week is March 7 through March 13

NILES, Mich.,--This week, the Niles community is highlighting local restaurants and bringing the community together. Today kicks off its second annual restaurant week.

Participating restaurants will feature unique, limited-time menus all week-long.

For Niles, restaurant week is a relatively new tradition.

During the pandemic, indoor dining was shut down. Then, dining was opened at a reduced capacity, and as new variants arrived, restaurants were in a rollercoaster of restrictions: open, closed, masked but at fifty-percent capacity.

The closures, both partial and full, hit the restaurant industry incredibly hard. To help drive business at local restaurants—Niles Main Street and The Greater Niles Charter partnered together to create Niles’ restaurant week. Now, restaurants are facing challenges as the fallout from the pandemic has caused inflation and staffing shortages.

Restaurants like El Amigo Pepe, a downtown staple of 17 years, is just one place feeling the impacts. Currently, it is offering a limited menu due to staffing shortages, but the owners are happy to continue dishing out award-winning cuisine to the Niles community.

“It’s not just about bringing business to us; it’s about being able to give back to the community and give them a chance to show them how much we appreciate them giving their support to the small businesses in the area,” said Gabriela Morales, daughter of owner, Jose Mendez.

Restaurant week also helps newer restaurants like, Gabrizio Italian Café and Bakery which opened in September 2019. The restaurant was only open for six months before the first round of COVID restrictions and shutdowns started in March 2020.

“Restaurant week is very important for all of us as local businesses because it creates more time for people to come to discover new places. It gives us a chance also to create a little menu--more special in this case,” said Desyree Aberganti.

Luigi Aberganti says that restaurant week is a great opportunity for the people of Michiana to check out the delicious cuisine that Niles has to offer.

“This is an opportunity to expand the impact to all the businesses, and also an opportunity for the Michiana area to come and see what Niles is all about: great talent, great people, good hospitality,” said Luigi Aberganti.

Joyce Bashara, owner of Brew Ha Ha Café, the oldest coffee shop in Niles, says that it’s a great opportunity for people to see how Niles has grown.

“Niles is more than it appears to be, and we hope people realize that once they get here. Our downtown is being revitalized; we’ve got a lot of new business; it’s happenin!” said Bashara.

The event kicks off Monday and ends on Sunday, March 13th. A list of participating restaurants and menus can be found here.

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