By SARAH GROSS
On Jan. 28, the Oakland Business Improvement District (OBID) will begin one of its more popular traditions — Oakland Restaurant Week. For six days, 18 restaurants in the Oakland area will be selling $6 lunches, either from a discounted version of their menu or from a specialty menu made for the event.
The goal, said OBID executive director Georgina Petropoulos, is to “find a way to connect to the awesome college audience in our backyard.”
- Top Shabu-Shabu & Lounge, 114 Atwood St.
- Stack’d Oakland, 3716 Forbes Ave.
- Sushi Fuku, 120 Oakland Ave.
- Sorrento’s Pizza, 233 Atwood St.
- Prince of India, 3614 Fifth Ave.
- Original Milano Pizza, 3606 Fifth Ave.
- Sciulli’s Pizza, 3404 Fifth Ave.
- The Garden Grille & Bar (inside the Hilton Garden Inn), 3454 Forbes Ave.
- Golden Palace Buffet, 3607 Forbes Ave.
- Hello Bistro, 3605 Forbes Ave.
- Thirsty Scholar, 3610 Fifth Ave.
- Fuel & Fuddle, 212 Oakland Ave.
- Primanti Bros., 3803 Forbes Ave.
- Pie Express, 148 Oakland Ave.
- Pamela’s Diner, 3703 Forbes Ave.
- Hanami, 3608 Fifth Ave.
- Nellie’s Sandwiches, 3524 Fifth Ave.
- Lotsa Stone Fired Pizza, 3621 Forbes Ave.
This event allows Oakland residents and those who just work here to explore the food available around them, save some money, and get outside during the dreary winter. OBID has tried other months, but according to Petropoulos, “January is definitely our fixed month for when it does the best.”
Dating back to 2011, this idea came out of Oakland restaurant owners themselves. The local shops wanted to be able to encourage visits from some of their regular customers, as well as potentially draw in new ones. In the first year, only nine or 10 restaurants were involved, and now OBID sees an average of 17 to 19. Last year, 19 shops participated.
The shops involved this year vary from Sushi Fuku, which has participated from the beginning, all the way to Hanami, one of Oakland’s newest restaurants. Even restaurants that haven’t opened yet, such as Mario’s on Oakland Avenue, showed significant interest in participating.
Samantha Barnes, the marketing manager for Stack’d said, “Oakland Restaurant Week is us trying to give a nice special for people to come in and try us out, hopefully enjoy our food, and then come back.”
Some of the biggest supporters, however, are the customers themselves. Oakland is known for its large student population, but the students aren’t the only ones who look forward to the restaurant week. According to OBID, University faculty and staff, along with hospital workers, also are part of the audience the event is geared toward, and are some of the biggest contributors who help to promote internally.
“This is definitely a very popular event,” Petropoulos said.
Sarah Gross is a junior nonfiction writing major and a contributing writer for the University Times.