Feast for foodies: Westmont Restaurant Week offers myriad cuisines

When Zazzo’s chose its current Westmont location to open a second outpost, comments ranged from “Oh, really” to “I wish them luck” to the more outrageous “I think it’s jinxed.” Not only has Zazzo’s Pizza and Catering defied the odds and successfully conquered the second location expansion syndrome, it has flourished in a location that previously was home to at least five restaurants over the past 20 years.

Strap on a bib and get ready to dine around the world without having to leave Westmont. The village invites foodies and friends to explore its cuisine offerings during Westmont Restaurant Week.

This year’s promotions will take place for a little more than a week, spanning from Feb. 22 to March 3 and allowing hungry residents two full weekends to take advantage of the deals. Participating restaurants will feature new menu items alongside classics that patrons have grown to love. There will be fixed-price menu options, specials and discounts.

“We have such a wide variety of restaurants that you could literally dine around the world in our community,” said Larry Forssberg, executive director of the Westmont Chamber of Commerce. “This event reminds us of how fortunate our community is to have this rich blend of authentic family menus to experience and share food from many different cultures and corners of the world.”

Jay Rushford, co-chair of the Westmont Restaurant Group and director of operations at Uncle Bub’s BBQ & Catering, said his journey with Westmont Restaurant Week began casually, but his love for food led him to a more involved role. His love of food, he said, also is what led him to realize just how much Westmont has to offer in terms of its restaurants as he sampled his way through the village.

Rushford, who takes notes of everything he eats during Restaurant Week, said it still astounds him that he can find barbecue, Italian, Thai, Greek and Eastern European fare all in Westmont. What’s even better, he said, is that most of these restaurants are family owned and offer recipes and menus authentic to the cultures they represent.

“If you don’t live in town, you might not realize all that Westmont has to offer,” Rushford said. “Oftentimes, people move to a new area and don’t know what to eat, but I am so confident we have something for everyone in this unique bubble of restaurants that manages to rival the food scene of big cities.”

Rushford said he is amazed every year during Restaurant Week to discover something new. As an avid foodie in the area, he said that surprise must be multiplied for newcomers. For business owners, the week is a chance not just to draw new customers but to showcase what their business is and maybe even try some new menu items, Rushford said.

Whether patrons live in Westmont or the surrounding area, Forssberg said they are sure to find something in their comfort zone, and for the daring, something outside their usual restaurant stops.

Participating restaurants and promotions can be found on the Westmont Chamber of Commerce website as the event draws near.

“Food enriches a community in such a cultural way and meals bring people together,” Forssberg said. “We hope people go out and experience their favorites but also try something new and discover all that the Westmont restaurant community has to offer.”