FRANKFORT — Frankfort-Elberta Restaurant Week returns for its third year from June 7-13.
It was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frankfort-Elberta Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joanne Bartley said they used to host the outdoor Taste of Benzie event, which offered samples of local dishes.
“We converted that into Restaurant Week, so people can go to the restaurants,” she said. “They see an increase in visitors. People are coming specifically to try new stuff, or try an old standby. It’s good for guests to try, especially if they are here for a week of vacation.”
This year, 18 restaurants are serving food. Some offer meal deals for $15, and others for $25. Some restaurants, Bartley said, provide both options.
“It’s all up to them, as long as it’s a deal,” Bartley said. “There’s a mix of things. Everybody should find something they like.”
Bartley said she is eager to try Vita Bella Italian Kitchen and Market. Her son recently brought her some leftovers, but she would like to enjoy a whole meal there.
Edward Carrella opened Vita Bella Italian Kitchen and Market in early March.
Carrella said business is going well so far, and he hopes that carries over into next week.
“I’ve been through restaurant weeks before in other cities,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase our restaurant and others in Frankfort.”
He plans to highlight what they do by offering traditional spaghetti and meatballs, whitefish and chicken Parmesan entrée choices. The restaurant also serves a half sandwich with soup or salad for lunch.
“These are our signature dishes,” Carrella said. “I think it will go really well.”
Lunch and dinner specials are available for dine-in only, though Carrella said they plan to continue carryout of the regular menu. Additionally, the marketplace is open for grab-and-go items like sandwiches and take-and-bake meals.
The Cabbage Shed in Elberta reopened for the season about six weeks ago.
General Manager Tony Roethler said they expect a busier event this year than in 2019.
“Even at 50-percent capacity, it’s still a good thing we need to bring back,” Roethler said. “We’re moving forward. We try to focus on what we can do right now.”
That means a three-course, $25 menu, which Roethler said features a soup or salad, choice of entrée, two sides and key lime pie or cherry cheesecake. They use local cherries for the cheesecake and pork ribeye dish.
The Cabbage Shed can seat customers for dinner Thursday and Friday and lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday.
Bartley added that doing this foodie event in the summer works for both restaurants and customers, who can also explore area trails, lighthouse and beaches.
“Don’t just come and eat,” she said.
In addition to Vita Bella, Bella’s Cafe is the other new restaurant in the Frankfort Elberta Restaurant Week lineup this year. Most places are located in Frankfort, with the Cabbage Shed, Mayfair Tavern and the Lighthouse Cafe in nearby Elberta.
Visit frankfortelbertarestaurantweek.com for updated menus and additional details.