Restaurant Week under way in Santa Maria Valley
Delectable dishes ranging from braised beef short ribs to family style chicken parmigiana are on the menu for this year’s Restaurant Week in the Santa Maria Valley, offering mouthwatering takeout options for residents through the end of January.
COVID-19 restrictions may have shut down restaurant seating across the Santa Maria Valley, but chefs are still serving up their handcrafted dishes takeout style as part of the Valley’s annual event.
This year, Restaurant Week features 17 restaurants, wineries and breweries across the Santa Maria Valley and Orcutt. During the week, a number of businesses are offering special promotions on orders from now until Jan. 31.
2020 was a tough year for a number of restaurants in the Santa Maria Valley. For Alfonso and Amy Curti, owners of Italian restaurant Trattoria Uliveto, the pandemic brought significant challenges.
When the pandemic started in March 2020, Mr. Curti made the difficult decision to lay off most of his kitchen staff, leaving him and one sous-chef to manage every takeout order coming into the restaurant. He rehired a number of staff members once restaurants could reopen in the summer, but unfortunately, he was recently forced to lay off staff again after the announcement of November’s stay-at-home order.
“December was one of the worst months in the last 13 years that we’ve been open,” Mr. Curti told the News-Press.
During Restaurant Week this year, Mr. Curti is offering the same special he has offered for many months during the pandemic. For $45, customers can order a meal that will feed a family of four, which includes salad, bread and the choice of a family style menu option.
Throughout this difficult time, the Curtis are focused on providing their customers with comfort food at an “affordable value.” Though the couple misses serving their customer base in house, many patrons of the restaurant have shared photos of their takeout orders with the Curtis on social media.
“It makes you so happy (seeing the photos) because even though they’re not in your restaurant sitting at your table, just knowing you were part of their family time is very rewarding,” Ms. Curti said.
For other participating restaurants in the Santa Maria Valley, the outlook for this week is optimistic.
Even on the first day of Restaurant Week, Moxie Cafe Owner and General Manager Robert Grimmesey said the health-centered eatery experienced the best first day of Restaurant Week they’ve ever had.
“We had a great turn out (Friday), especially for all the circumstances with the rain and with the COVID rates,” Mr. Grimmesey told the News-Press.
Chrystal Trenaeo, owner of Cubanissimo, had a few customers asking about the Restaurant Week specials during the day on Friday, and she’s confident that as the week goes on, more people will take advantage of the restaurant’s special through the end of the month.
For $30, Cubanissimo is offering two main meals with sides, a choice of two Cuban cocktails or Cuban sodas and one guava brownie for dessert during Restaurant Week.
Though the pandemic has made business “slower than prior to the pandemic,” Ms. Trenaeo is “optimistic that things will be improving very soon.”
For a full list of participating restaurants, visit santamariavalley.com/events/the_great_santa_maria_takeout/.