Servers from The Place 2 Be prepare French Toast Fritters for attendees at the May 29 Dine Springfield Restaurant Week tasting event in downtown Springfield.
Reminder Publishing photos by Bill Zito

SPRINGFIELD — Back for its eighth year, more than 30 city eateries will take part in Springfield Restaurant Week, the 10-day food extravaganza that will run June 7-16 with participating restaurants promoting their diversity of fare in their own ways, through a variety of deals and offerings that fit their styles and clienteles.

Coordinated with the Springfield Business Improvement District, “Dine Springfield” will once again provide a platform for local restaurants, old and new, to entice repeat customers and introduce new patrons to their menus.

A kick-off to the week began with a May 29 VIP media event and food tasting at the Resident Lounge at ThirtyOne Elm in downtown Springfield.

Mayor Domenic Sarno thanked the organizers and the restaurants for their participation and urged people near and far to sample the city’s cuisine.

“Many of the places that are here, I have partaken in your culinary delights,” he quipped. “And I urge many people again to come down to Springfield, take a second look at Springfield, we have a very, very diverse restaurant center down here.”

Sarno also acknowledged the jobs created by the local restaurant trade, employed members of the Springfield community and surrounding areas.

“Plus, the food is so, so good,” he said.

Restaurant Week Committee Chair Juan Latorre echoed Sarno’s comments, calling Dine Springfield one of the premier dining experiences in all of Massachusetts while providing local support for the community and its businesses.

“One of Springfield’s strengths is the diversity of our dining opportunities,” he said. “None of this happens without the strength and resiliency of our restaurants, whether it be a worldwide pandemic, supply chain issues, inflation or challenges with workforce.”

Included in the 30-plus establishments offering special promotions and menus are Leone’s Restaurant, Student Prince and the Fort, and White Lion Brewing Company.

Del Rey Taqueria & Bar owner Jacinto Blanco said he’s taking part for a second year after seeing the event is a great way to promote new business and get regular diners to keep coming back.

“It’s good for everybody,” he said. “Many times, new people don’t know where we are and now they can find out about us.”

BID Executive Director Michelle Grout said the launch this year of Dine Springfield took a whole new approach in order to get the word out and to get it to a wider audience.

“Everything we were doing before, we just kind of scrapped,” she said. “We went with organic marketing, social media and regional influencers. Today’s diners are on social media all the time, there are more pictures of food on the internet than probably anything else.”

Samantha Savoie, the BID’s marketing and creative services director, steered the new approach toward promoting Restaurant Week, expanding the social media base as a major part of the promotion.

“The thought behind that was taking pictures of the food, posting videos of them [community members and influencers] talking about it, reaching a different audience,” she said as attendees at the kick-off event sampled foods served by staff from The Place 2 Be and 350 Grill.

A full list of restaurants participating in Dine Springfield can be found at springfielddowntown.com.