Restaurant Week

FRESNO, Calif. Restaurant week will include menus ranging from $13 for casual restaurants to $34 for fine dining. "Well, I think it's a great opportunity for the public to take advantage of the diversity of restaurants we have in the community."

Lorraine Salazar co-owns Sal's Mexican restaurant in Northeast Fresno. She's also a member of the California Restaurant Association.

Salazar says the economy has forced long-running restaurants like La Rocca's in Northeast Fresno to close, which is why restaurant week is so crucial.

"Locally, unfortunately depending upon the type of restaurant you have, some people have been down 30 to 40 percent, and that's where you are seeing some of the closings."

But restaurant owners are optimistic. In a recent survey of more than 40 Fresno restaurants, 51-percent said they felt the worst of the recession was behind them, 63-percent had an optimistic outlook for their restaurant, and 46 percent reported an increase in sales over the past three months.

Scott Sauer, executive chef at Max's in Northwest Fresno hopes restaurant week will make those numbers climb even higher.

-"It's good for us because it gets people in the seats, anything thing that can bring business is good for us, whether you eat at my restaurant or someone else's, getting people to go out and eat and see that it's out there and affordable is real important."

An estimated 10-thousand diners took advantage of the event last year. This year, organizers are hoping to get twice as many diners.

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