Elements, Mediterra, Ferry House pleased with Restaurant Week results
Elements — a fine dining restaurant on Bayard Lane — served more than 700 meals during the University’s first-ever Restaurant Week, significantly more than any of the other participating restaurants. A majority of these meals were served to University students, according to Elements wine director Carl Rohrbach.
In an average week, the restaurant serves between 180 and 200 meals, Rohrbach said. Despite the increase in the number of diners, Elements’ profits did not jump significantly because students paid lower prices. For all participating restaurants, students paid $25 for a full meal including an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. Appetizers at Elements normally cost $18, entrees cost between $28 and $42, and desserts cost between $10 and $15.
Restaurant Week — which concluded last Thursday — was organized jointly by the USG and the Graduate Student Government. Modeled after New York Restaurant Week, it provided students discounts at 10 local restaurants, including Elements. More than 3,000 students attended meals at the participating restaurants, well exceeding the USG’s expectation of 2,000. USG campus and community affairs chair Carmina Mancenon ’14 said she was surprised by the strong interest, given that the USG only advertised the event for one week and spent $280 on advertising.
Even though Restaurant Week did not particularly benefit Elements financially, Rohrbach said he was nonetheless glad to participate.
“It was a fun experience for all involved,” he said, adding that he thought it was nice for students to escape studying. “We wanted to be able to showcase to students the restaurant. It’s not a restaurant students would think of going to normally.”
Rohrbach said he would consider participating in Restaurant Week again in future years.
“The prix fixe was a great deal, at least for Elements, because I know it’s really expensive,” said Andrew Sartorius ’13, who went to Elements. “I think it’s a great way for students to get out beyond the Orange Bubble to see parts of Princeton they maybe haven’t seen before.”
Sartorius is also a former senior writer for The Daily Princetonian.
Mediterra manager Carmine Depasquale said his restaurant did not receive a significant surge in profits either but said he appreciated the increased exposure among the student body that came as a result of Restaurant Week.
“It’s definitely going to expand into the students coming back ... as well as family members who come down,” Depasquale said. “I would assume it would definitely be a talking point for the student for where to go eat.”
He added that Mediterra experienced a moderate but not drastic increase in the number of customers dining there each night. Depasquale said the restaurant would certainly be interested in participating in the future.
On the other hand, Ferry House manager Melissa Dill said her restaurant did in fact see an increase in profits over the week. The restaurant served about 350 meals to University students over the five-day period, and Dill added that the restaurant served slightly smaller portions to students participating in the deal.
"We definitely saw a surge in profits, because getting a higher volume of people at a lower cost — it’s beneficial in all aspects,” she said.
Dill said the increase in students eating at the restaurant made the atmosphere livelier and that she enjoyed making the restaurant more accessible to students.
“The students only come when parents are here or when it’s Reunions or formals,” she said. “I don’t think they get the opportunity to eat in the fine dining establishment.”
Correction: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this article misstated the gender of Carmine Depasquale. He is the manager of Mediterra. The 'Prince' regrets the error.
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