Councilmember Mike Peterson and wife, Charlene, enjoying lunch at the Cancun Café after a tough morning of pickleball. (Mike Peterson/Cottonwood Heights)
By: Cassandra Goff – email@example.com
Cottonwood Heights, Utah - Food was on the brain in Cottonwood Heights from Aug. 20 to Aug. 31. The first ever Bites in the Heights was in full swing with many residents of the city, as well as residents from neighboring cities, visiting nine restaurants for their Bites in the Heights promotions.
“We have seen dining events in other cities and thought we’d like to spotlight the local eateries we have in Cottonwood Heights,” Cottonwood Heights Business Development Coordinator Peri Kinder said. “There are some great restaurants here. We wanted to give them some attention.”
The restaurants that participated in the event were Arminen’s Deli, Cancun Café, Carl’s Café, Cottonwood Heights Café, Dragon Isle, Johnniebeefs, Market Street Grill, Protein Foundry and Toasters Deli.
All of the above restaurants created Bites in the Heights specials. These specials ranged from $5 to $20 for lunch and dinner. For example, Cancun Café offered a $15 dinner of two chicken or beef taquitos and a carnitas platter with fried ice cream. Carl’s Café and Cottonwood Heights Café had $5 lunch specials, which included a sandwich, fries and a drink.
Cottonwood Heights city leaders also enjoyed Bites in the Heights. Councilmember Tee Tyler “enjoyed a great lunch” at Cottonwood Heights Café on Saturday, Aug. 20, the first day of the promotion.
Councilmember Mike Peterson visited Cancun Café and Cottonwood Heights Café for their lunch specials. Councilmember Mike Shelton visited Market Street Grill.
Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore ate at all nine of the restaurants that participated, sometimes visiting two or three in one day. He was surprised to find Arminen’s Deli because it is located within a Sinclair station. “A lot of people don’t know it’s there,” Cullimore said.
All of the restaurants are part of the Cottonwood Heights Business Association (CHBA). Overall, the CHBA was pleased with the event but “it’s been hard to monitor the success of the event. I’ve had many people tell me they’ve visited most of the restaurants involved, but sometimes they didn’t ask for the Bites in the Heights special,” Kinder said.
However, most of the restaurant owners benefitted from the event. “Johnniebeefs had double the lunch crowd that he typically has,” Community and Economic Development Director Brian Berndt said.
Participants were encouraged to post their selfies and food photography on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #CHFoodie. In doing so, they were entered to win gift cards provided by the participating restaurants. However, “very few people posted photos on our social media sites,” Kinder said.
Additionally, participants voted for their favorite restaurants on the Economic and Community Development website. The Best Overall Restaurant winner was Johnniebeefs. The Best Service was found at Market Street Grill and Carl’s Café offered the Best Deal.
“I’d love to do it again next year,” Kinder said.
The community and economic development staff members have been discussing what worked well and what didn’t work so well with the restaurant owners to improve Bites in the Heights. They would like to see “a bigger event next time,” Kinder said.
“Next year, we will focus a little more on the promoting phase of things instead of people having to ask. A few other restaurants have asked to be involved as well,” Berndt said.