Mount Airy Restaurant Week promotes local businesses


April 6—It’s Mount Airy Restaurant Week and business is brisk.

“We’re getting a lot more orders from people we don’t recognize,” Superfoods Cafe & Market manager Tracy Hales said after Tuesday’s lunch rush.

Restaurant week usually means a spike in new and returning customers.

“The goal of Restaurant Week is to bring awareness to restaurants in our community,” said Melissa Thorn, Mount Airy’s Community and Economic Development Manager and Main Street Manager.

Inside Superfoods at 106 S. Main St., colorful chalkboard menus give customers an overview of vegan and vegetarian options. The espresso machine let out a shrill hiss and gurgled.

“We love it because we welcome people who may not have come to our store before,” Superfoods owner Darlene Union said in an interview.

Union is a raw vegan chef. She loves seeing customers walk away pleasantly surprised at how full they are.

One side of the shop has shelves filled with products like vegan marshmallows, hemp protein powder, and cocoa nibs. The other side features a dimly lit wine bar with soothing music and a rear play area for the kids.

The cafe and market opened in 2012. Superfoods is one of 12 local restaurants participating in Mount Airy Restaurant Week through April 10.

The theme for the fifth City Restaurant Week is “Rediscovering Community”. Participating businesses are supplied with chef’s hats to give away to customers. Thorn invites people to decorate the hats, put them on and post photos on social media.

Those who use #MtAiryEats and tag @TownofMountAiry on Instagram or Facebook will have a chance to win $25 gift cards to local restaurants, according to Thorn.

While last year’s Restaurant Week promoted curbside pickup and sale, this year Thorn is thrilled to see restaurants full of customers. Business owners are too.

“In general, business has picked up with enthusiasm,” said Jon Speiser.

Speiser is co-owner of Memories Charcoal House at 403 E. Ridgeville Blvd. The family restaurant and sports bar has been in business for almost 28 years. Restaurant week typically bolsters sales, according to Speiser.

Customers were busy in the lounge area adjoining the bar on Tuesday afternoon. Red balloons marked a celebration. Outside, fairy lights covered the patio. Speiser said they will soon be bringing in palm trees to give the patio a beachy feel as the weather warms.

Speiser described Restaurant Week as a win-win situation for business and the community.

“We definitely see a little bump in business,” he said. “It’s a good way to show what we do.”

Union said the past two years under the COVID-19 pandemic have been difficult for businesses.

“We hope everyone will come see us and support local businesses,” she said. “We all work hard.”

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