Belfast Restaurant Week set for Big Return in 2013

Belfast’s Mayor calls on local businesses to sign up and get involved

A major, week-long, citywide initiative designed to promote great Belfast food and champion the City’s diverse and award-winning choice of restaurants, cafés and gastro-pubs is to return for a second year, it was confirmed today.

Spearheaded by new Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, and supported by Belfast City Council, Visit Belfast and DARD, Belfast Restaurant Week 2013 kicks off on Saturday October 5th with a week long programme of celebratory events, specially-designed menu options and offers, as well as food-focused events – all which will celebrate the city’s vibrant restaurant scene.

Belfast Restaurant Week is part of a dedicated tourism development initiative by Belfast City Council and Visit Belfast to promote the city’s restaurant and hospitality sector by boosting footfall and spend and by doing so supporting and growing local jobs.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, said:

“Belfast is home to a great range of restaurants, from fine dining to homely cafés and fashionable bistros. Our city also boasts some of the most dedicated chefs and food heroes, many with award-winning credentials which regularly attract national media attention and recognition.  Belfast Restaurant Week aims to encourage residents, local businesses and visitors to eat out, try something new and support great Belfast food.” 

“The hospitality and restaurant sector supports many thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly.  Last year’s inaugural event provided a focus for the local industry to encourage people to come in to the city to enjoy the food, the value and the fun. We want to build on the success of 2012 this year and increase the contribution which Belfast Restaurant Week makes to the local economy.”

In 2012, more than 80 businesses got behind the food festival. A burst of more than 30 foody events also took place, allowing local restaurateurs, chefs and managers to showcase what was a mouth-watering variety of dishes and gastronomic styles.

These specially-arranged events included food and wine tastings, tasty treat giveaways, cookery demonstrations and celebrity chef cook-offs.

With the vital support from the local hospitality industry, this year’s Belfast Restaurant Week promises to offer a bumper programme.  Belfast City Council is working with Visit Belfast to encourage dining establishments of all types and sizes to be part of the week-long event.

The Lord Mayor added:

“Be it a family-run café, a gastro pub, bistro or a fine dining restaurant, if you’re passionate about quality local produce, great atmosphere and top class customer service, we want you to get involved. We need our local, hard-working restaurateurs, chefs, managers and staff to make this year’s Belfast Restaurant Week something we can all proud of.”

Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast, which is coordinating the marketing and promotion of the event, said:

“The success of Belfast Restaurant Week is proof that Belfast’s vibrant restaurant and local food scene is growing in reputation.  There’s a huge appetite for eating out and I’m confident that together, as an industry and as valued consumers, we can really celebrate and enjoy the magnificent choice, value, style, ambiance and hospitality that this city now offers to an established – and new – generation of diners, from near and far.”

“This is a golden opportunity for us all to dip our knives and forks into the absolute best the city’s restaurants, and food-providing pubs have to offer.”

Belfast Restaurant Week is supported by Belfast City Council, Visit Belfast, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Michelle O’Neill MLA, Minister of the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development, said:

“Belfast Restaurant Week is an ideal platform from which to promote the role which quality, locally-produced food plays in developing this city’s world class reputation for dining. Our food produce is renowned for its quality and taste and I’m delighted that this initiative is helping to champion this to as wide an audience as possible.”

Restaurants keen to take part in Belfast Restaurant Week 2013, which runs from October 5th – 12th, are encouraged to register their interest before the July 5th deadline by visiting or contacting Visit Belfast 028 9023 9026 /