Thousands of food lovers have made the second Sunderland Restaurant Week an overwhelming success after flocking to city cafes and restaurants to eat, drink and be merry.
Organisers at Sunderland BID say last week’s event (11 – 19 March) was almost four times more popular than the inaugural one last September, with more than 8000 vouchers downloaded to take advantage of special deals.
Among the restaurants taking part was Papas Tapas at The Ship Isis at Silksworth Row, which was fully booked throughout most of the week.
“It was absolutely fantastic, we’ve never been busier in the three months since we first opened,” said manager, Chris Young.
“We were full all week and they were all new visitors – we even had people come back again later in the week because they had enjoyed it so much.
“Everyone I spoke to said they would be returning, and for us it was brilliant. It gave us the chance to attract new customers who hopefully will come back. If there is another, we will be first to sign up.”
Also taking part for the first time was The Chop House at the Dun Cow. Manager Paul von Scott was thrilled to see so many diners heading in over the week.
“It has been very, very successful considering we are such a new restaurant. We welcomed lots of new customers and the whole event seemed to create a huge buzz across the city.
“We have only been open for 10 weeks and for us it was the perfect way to showcase what we offer and let people know we are here. Anything which encourages people to eat local should be applauded and for us it has certainly been worth taking part in.”
Asiana Fusion restaurant at Echo 24 Building, West Wear Street, took part in both events and manager Ian Wong noted a rise in customers and interest this time.
“Once again we saw a big increase in diners, with many people coming to us for the first time,” he said. “From our experience this is a great initiative for the city. It gives restaurants the chance to show what they offer to people who may not have visited before, and hopefully bring back repeat business.”
Gemma Dishman, Communications and Marketing manager for Sunderland BID said the event helped showcase the food and drink offer in the city.
“The week is not only a great way to turn the spotlight on the diverse range of restaurants, cafes and bars we have in Sunderland but also provides a great boost to the local economy,” she said.
“The fact we attracted diners from across the region really gives the city’s food and drink offering a great platform and we fully expect the impact of Restaurant Week to continue, as visitors return to their new-found favourites.”