A Taste of Summer promotes Monroe’s diverse dining options

Monroe Social's patrons enjoy dinner on the restaurant's patio. Monroe Social is located at 494 Main St.

MONROE, CT — Monroe’s restaurants are preparing special menus and deals for a Taste of Summer, a restaurant week event sponsored by the Monroe Economic Development Commission that will run today through June 27.

Osteria Romana plans to offer patrons its lobster ravioli and Roberto’s Restaurant has a dish called the Pappardelle Estate, “wide pasta noodles sautéed with fresh basil, cherry stone tomatoes, garlic, pancetta, EVOO and shavings of ricotta salata,” according to specials advertised on the Taste of Summer Instagram page.

“Over 25 restaurants are participating so far,” Ray Giovanni, chairman of the Monroe EDC, said Monday. “I think it’s going to be a great showing.”

The Taste of Summer Instagram page is the go to destination for a listing of participating restaurants and restaurant week specials, with links to the EDC’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the response already,” Giovanni said. “We have 1,784 followers on Instagram looking there for restaurant information. This is the first time we depended on a QR code to share information on the project and people are using it.”

Giovanni said Monroe Restaurant Week will still be held in October, but the EDC also decided to offer Taste of Summer this year to take advantage of beautiful weather and the growing outdoor dining options in town.

Restaurants struggling at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic later benefited by having temporary outdoor seating.

Seeing the need, the EDC worked with First Selectman Ken Kellogg, Community and Economic Recovery Coordinator William Holsworth, Town Planner Rick Schultz and the Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission to streamline the approval process and make it easier for restaurants to offer patio seating.

Giovanni said town officials and the EDC have also been working with businesses to make it easier to open in town. Nunnus Online Sandwich Shop recently got its certificate of occupancy in time to participate in Taste of Summer.

Giovanni said the restaurant week event has new restaurants and delis, “old standbys” like Carl Anthony’s and The Smithy, and well established venues like Roberto’s and Osteria Romano.

Veracious Brewing Co. is another town business that is participating in the summer event.

Monroe has a wide variety of restaurants. Aside from Taste of Summer giving residents an opportunity to learn all their town has to offer, Giovanni said the EDC hopes the event attracts diners from surrounding towns, who will become regulars at Monroe’s eateries.

He said business generated by restaurants this week can also generate more foot traffic for other town businesses nearby.

Giovanni praised the hard work of the EDC’s volunteers, who worked closely with restaurant owners, helping them to participate amid busy schedules. They have also been promoting the event through lawn signs, advertising and by distributing literature around town.

Unlike most towns, Giovanni said the Monroe EDC was able to allow restaurants to participate in its restaurant week without paying a $200 to $300 fee to offset costs.

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