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Thursday, March 7, 2024


MARCH 17-23, 2024 PREVIEW

Great lunches, fabulous dinners and special events

The list of locally owned Shreveport-Bossier restaurants that have closed in recent years makes a footlong sandwich look like an appetizer.

“I could talk for days about supply chains, price increases, etc., but everyone has heard that too much,” said Ben Pattillo, CEO of Flying Heart Brewing & Pub in Bossier City’s East Bank District. “The reality is that those all cost locally owned businesses a tremendous amount [of money]. Being that we are your neighbors, we understand those issues affect you negatively as well. Therefore, typically, local businesses put off price increases longer than they should, to share in that burden. Unfortunately, we see this leading to the loss of local businesses time and time again.”

But help to increase support for local restaurants is on the way.

318 Restaurant Week, organized by Visit Shreveport-Bossier, will take place March 17-23.

Approximately 50 businesses (some full-fledged restaurants and some specialty places) will offer deals. For example, there will be $10 breakfasts, $15 lunches and $25 dinners.

The yearly event is designed to entice diners — locals and out-of-towners — to visit a locally owned eatery.

“The goal is that we get people in the door to sample what these restaurants have to offer, by driving people to check out all of these places during this limited, one-week-only event,” said Katharyn DeVille with Visit Shreveport-Bossier. “While they are there, they are likely to buy more than what they came for. They may have come in for the special but will buy other things. Or they go from being a sampler to being a loyal supporter.”

Flying Heart is participating in this year’s restaurant week and will offer your choice of any pizza, dessert and beer on tap for $25. Pattillo says that is more than a 30% overall discount. He hopes an increase in business will make up for the reduced profit margin.

“I have lived in this area many years and still meet people weekly who are just now finding out about Flying Heart. … 318 Restaurant Week can entice new local customers to area restaurants they may not know exist. For local businesses to succeed, they need the support of local customers. While interstate traffic is nice, it is seasonal. Locals are here year-round.

Concerning interstate traffic, Pattillo says he and other businesses have been affected by the I-20 construction project, which isn’t expected to be finished until late 2025.

“There is discussion about the DOTD [Department of Transportation and Development] potentially closing the westbound lanes for the duration of the project. Should this happen, you can rest assured you will see the closure of some businesses along the route. We have already seen a significant loss of revenue since the start of the project and are projecting as much as a 20% loss throughout the year.”

While it may seem like there is a Mexican restaurant on every corner, Shreveport-Bossier is home to a variety of cuisines.

“We have an incredible array of restaurants that give you everything from comfort food to high cuisine,” DeVille said. “We’re excited about showcasing our culinary theme. Food is a big driver for people who come to Shreveport-Bossier. They come here because they want to have a great meal. It’s not what you do here, it’s what you eat.”

In addition to the three-meals-a-day special pricing, a handful of restaurants will offer dining “experiences.” Those experiences include:

• Fete 318 at Orlandeaux’s Café, featuring a free party with food from Orlandeaux’s and a variety of food trucks.

• Us Up North, where acclaimed Chef Hardette Harris will show you how to prepare family-style food, like greens and hot-water cornbread. You will also be able to eat. One thing new to 318 Restaurant Week — after a trial run last year — is “Lagniappe.”

“We had some businesses which weren’t necessarily able to participate in the traditional 318 breakfast, lunch or dinner category,” DeVille said. “So, we invented Lagniappe, which is so Louisiana.

Specials, as well as lunches and dinners for 318 Restaurant Week, will feature dining “experiences” created for the event.

Maybe a business has a specialty drink or a specialty dessert, and they want to be a part of this great week of people eating and drinking out on the town but don’t necessarily have a category. Now, they have one.”

To help you plan your restaurant week visits, there is a new and improved app, which DeVille promises “will be much easier to navigate.” You can see the participating restaurants and their specials.

You will also be able to check in at a restaurant, allowing you to win up to $250 in restaurant gift cards.

To learn more about 318 Restaurant Week, you may visit www.318restaurantweek.com.

Lagniappe is a new category for 318 Restaurant Week featuring specialty items like a dessert or cocktail.


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