MILWAUKEE - Downtown Dining Week has kicked off in Milwaukee, serving up much-needed support for restaurants dealing with a decrease in customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The special, winter edition includes COVID-19 modifications and a focus on carryout and curbside service.
At Blue Bat Kitchen and Tequilaria in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward, the week is in full swing.
"Our phones are ringing off the hook, we’re getting a great response," said Maddie Seymour with Blue Bat.
Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria
Dining Week 2020 was postponed by the pandemic. Now, Blue Bat and roughly 20 other restaurants are participating in the dining event's modified winter edition.
"This is our hardest time of the year no matter what, but especially during these unprecedented times right now," Seymour said.
The winter edition is providing a needed boost for businesses, adjusting during the pandemic.
"We’ve been hearing from our restaurants that this is already a boost to their business and we’re only on day two," said Erica Chang with Milwaukee Downtown.
"We really want to use this event as an opportunity to showcase the phenomenal work they’re doing, and again, allowing Milwaukeeans a really tangible opportunity to support the businesses they love so much."
Carryout at Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria
Downtown Dining Week has deals and multi-course meals, plus an emphasis on curbside and carryout options.
"The best thing we can do is support the community and help it grow as best we can right now because things are tough," said Oscar Harding.
Seymour and others are hoping the reimagined dining week becomes a recipe for success for the restaurants that need it.
"A lot of those awesome food experiences can be brought home and still enjoyed the same exact way in your own spaces," Seymour said. "It just shows that there will be light at the end of the tunnel."
An organizer hopes the week inspires people to visit restaurants during the winter months, and eventually into the spring and summer. Dining Week runs through Feb. 7.