Restaurant Week in Downtown Conway couldn’t be easier. There’s no registration, no signing up, no tickets to buy.
Hillary Howard, Conway Downtown Alive’s executive director, suggests checking the website, www.conwayalive.com, about 10 days before the Sept. 20-26 event to see a detailed menu.
Restaurant Week, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. every day, started out about nine years ago as the Rivertown Dine-Around, but it’s come into its own and is now a yearly tradition.
Expanding to the week-long format last year was a success, and keeping it in that style allows the restaurants to do more and offer more.
“We’re seeing more and more that Downtown Conway is becoming a dining destination in the region,” Howard says, adding, “When we expanded to a week, the restaurants could feature more new dishes and bring back some old ones.”
For example, Rivertown Bistro brought back its pecan encrusted chicken that had been a favorite years ago. It stopped being offered to make room for other dishes and was brought back as part of Restaurant Week last year.
“People who were fans and hadn’t seen the dish on the menu for five years went crazy and were like, ‘I love this chicken,’” Howard says.
Some eateries use the designated week to try new dishes, with Crafty Rooster being one of them.
“They’ll add something to the menu or change the menu slightly and try that new entrée out. “Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
“People want, not just a new restaurant but also new dishes, and literally to enjoy the flavor of Conway,” Howard says.
“After all, what would The Trestle be without their famous chicken salad?”
Last year, during the height of Covid, several Conway eateries added outdoor seating and the take-out business boomed.
On the down side though, because of Covid restrictions, “it wasn’t a time when folks could explore the restaurant,” she says. “It was more of a time to keep our businesses open and thriving.”
Now, Restaurant Week is shifting the focus back onto the restaurants that Howard says “need a boost after what they’ve been through.”
And, with no reservations or tickets needed for the event, she says, “People just need to plot their course, see what they’re in the mood for and order and pay at the restaurant.
“You go, you sit down, you eat.”