Early Arrival: Downtown CLE Fall Restaurant Week starts Monday to give city eateries a boost

With many office workers still working from home and sporting events hosting few spectators or prohibiting any visitors, downtown Cleveland restaurants are left waiting for customers to come through the doors.


To spur some lunch and dinner traffic to eateries in the city’s core, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA) decided to launch Downtown Cleveland Fall Restaurant Week on Monday, Sept. 28, running through Sunday, Oct. 4.


“Given everything going on and the challenges small businesses are experiencing, we thought it would be great to have a special Downtown Restaurant Week,” says Michael Deemer, executive vice president of business development for the DCA. “We really want to support our small business restaurants and encourage folks who haven’t been down in a while to come down and support these restaurants.”


Chocolate BarWhile the DCA’s traditional, annual week-long showcase of prix fixe menus at Cleveland restaurants normally occurs in the late winter months, the fall event will shine a light on a variety of local and globally inspired, family-run, Black-owned, and newly-opened spots.


From grab-and-go and fast casual options to street side group dining and socially distant happy hour drinks, participating businesses will offer something for every taste, occasion, and budget.


Deemer says there are more than 120 restaurants open downtown right now, including nine new establishments. “They opened over the summer, despite the challenges,” he says. The newcomers include Betts Restaurant, which replaced Parker’s Downtown in July, Citizen Pie’s E. 4th Street location, Sixth City Sailors Club, 27 Club Coffee, Poke 86, The Sauce Boiling Seafood Express, Ujerk, Beyond Juice and Eatery, and Fahey Bakehouse.


Although the prix fixe menus are not part of Fall Restaurant Week, Deemer says about a dozen restaurants are offering featured menus, discounts, and other deals during the event.


Deemer assures potential diners that all the downtown restaurants are taking safety precautions during COVID-19—pledging to commit to the DCA’s clean and safe dining experience guidelines.


“We’ve been really pleased over the summer how these restaurants have enforced these guidelines,” he says. “They want to keep their employees safe and they want their customers to have the same experience.”


Deemer says the DCA will continue to make health and safety a priority for businesses and visitors to downtown. “The only way we’re going to get through this is to do all the things we need to do to keep our neighbors safe,” he says. “We really want office workers to go out and pick up lunch for themselves and their co-workers. We encourage folks to come down and try as many [restaurants] as they like.”

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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