Just over two years ago, New York Times correspondent Bonnie Tsui opined that Petaluma had been “elevated to a culinary destination worthy of a visit.” This appraisal came after a spate of restaurants opened that heralded something of a new wave in local cuisine. Of the four restaurants profiled, three continue to flourish (one vanished so utterly that its URL now lands on a GoDaddy sales page). Speakeasy, Central Market and Rosso Petaluma are all going strong and remain cornerstones of our restaurant scene.

But only Rosso is listed as a participant in this year’s Sonoma County Restaurant Week – the annual seven day food fest that began yesterday and continues through March 13. Hmm.

Now in its seventh year, the event features three-course meals at $19, $29 or $39. So, where are the other restaurants that the New York Times esteemed so much? Like a secret recipe, that will have to remain a mystery. Since all three restaurants are all open seven days a week, one could reason that, for them, it’s always Restaurant Week. 52 times a year, week in, week out.

13 other Petaluma eateries, however, are participating in the promotion and some also feature special 2-course lunches priced at $10 and $15. How does the Sonoma County Restaurant Week serve up the numbers? Well done – and they taste just like money:

According to a report released by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board last week, last year, the week-long event grew its total impact by 20% to $3.35. million. Over $214,000 in sales tax was cooked up and more than $100,000 in local products were purchased for use in Restaurant Week menus, buttressing what is typically a slow time of the year for area eateries (unless you’ve been in the New York Times).

If you haven’t had your fill of gustatory stats here’s a second helping – in 2015 more than 17,000 meals were served from prix-fixe menus, and more than 68,700 meals, altogether, were served over the week at participating restaurants. We can only conjecture how many collective calories were ingested but it was surely billions.

Almost all diners rated their restaurant week experience as “good or excellent,” says the report.

Petaluma restaurants participating in Sonoma Restaurant Week:

Bon appetit!

What’s your favorite place to get your grub on in Petaluma?

 Daedalus Howell is the author of Quantum Deadline, a darkly comic sci-fi crime novel, set in Lumaville. Also, you’ll never believe the strange goings-on at DaedalusHowell.com.

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