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April 23, 2014

Spring restaurant week continues successful twists in Ferndale

By Joshua Gordon
C & G Staff Writer

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Breakfast, such as this one from Toast in Ferndale, will be a highlight of the Downtown Ferndale Restaurant Week, which runs through April 27.
Twenty local restaurants, including Woodward Avenue Brewery, are taking part in Ferndale’s restaurant week.
 

FERNDALE — Last October, Ferndale joined the recent trend of holding a restaurant week, but with a few twists. Just six months later, event coordinators have decided that the fall event was too successful to wait a whole year to hold again.

Downtown Ferndale Restaurant Week returned April 21 for the spring edition of the event and runs through April 27. And like the fall version, Ferndale restaurants will offer a range of prices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“Downtown Ferndale Restaurant Week highlights one of the greatest assets of downtown Ferndale (in) our excellent variety of restaurants and bars,” said Ferndale Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius. “The price points will encourage guests to give a different restaurant a try or visit an old favorite for a special deal.”

Restaurant week will include 20 downtown Ferndale restaurants on Woodward Avenue, Nine Mile Road and Troy Street.

While most restaurant weeks around the state have restaurants include only one price point, Ferndale restaurants will offer $10, $20 or $30 menus so restaurants with cheaper menus can participate and it appeals to a wider range of diners.

“I think what we learned the most from last year is people do like all the different price points, and it is a good formula for downtown Ferndale,” said Chris Hughes, the DDA communications and marketing manager. “Last year, we were able to test the waters to see if this format would work, because we have tried to get a restaurant week going prior, but we couldn’t agree on a common price point. We have a diverse group of restaurants, and people can try totally different levels of restaurants and still walk away a happy camper.”

One of the main reasons for hosting a restaurant week, Hughes said, is it can bring an influx of diners into downtown on otherwise slow days.

“Everyone reports they experienced an uptick, and some days that are slow no matter what — like Mondays are a typically slow day — it helped in some degree,” she said. “What this does more than anything is keep Ferndale top of mind to people thinking about where they are going to go and where they are going to eat. It gives us an opportunity to showcase a small sample of spaces and the diversity, from Ethiopian food to Mediterranean and good old bar food.”

Beth Hussey, the event chair and owner of One-Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale, said the list of restaurants has been able to expand by continuing the various price points.

“We are following the same exact format, and we think the first version did a great job, and we are hoping, the second one, we can get the word out and continue to get better from here,” she said. “Other restaurant weeks, like in Birmingham, they put a $35 price point and three-course meals, but that price point and style of dining doesn’t fit in Ferndale. With our format, a place like Treat Dreams can participate and give two people ice cream for $10.

“We have such a variety of restaurants and concepts in Ferndale that we didn’t want to rule anyone out by picking a price point and making them live with it.”

Hughes said Ferndale has crowned itself the brunch capital of the world because of the numerous restaurants where patrons can get breakfast.

Because of the long list of breakfast locations, Hussey, who also serves breakfast at One-Eyed Betty’s, said that including breakfast was important to give people something different.

“Personally speaking, we had a great breakfast turnout for restaurant week, and I think this is just another thing that sets us apart from other cities that don’t include breakfast in their meal periods,” Hussy said. “Ferndale is a breakfast town so it was a no-brainer to include breakfast.”

Moving forward, Hussey said Ferndale plans on hosting two restaurant weeks each year with one in the fall and the other in the spring. The goal, she said, is to get as many of the restaurants in the city participating as possible.

“Ferndale is community-driven, and especially in the last two or three years, great restaurants have popped up, and I think there will continue to be great restaurants here,” Hussey said. “I think Ferndale is a restaurant destination, and this event is a great way to continue to grow and grow. As long as restaurants continue to put some effort into it, we will only get bigger and better.”

For more information on Downtown Ferndale Restaurant Week, including a list of participating restaurants, visit www.ferndalerestaurantweek.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Joshua Gordon at jgordon@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1077.