GBCVB president Pat Moscaritolo talks up Boston Restaurant Week
Pat Moscaritolo has a list of places he can’t wait to visit during Boston Restaurant Week, but as president of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, he won’t reveal where he’ll be going. That would be playing favorites, and as ambassador of Boston’s biannual celebration of the culinary community, he strives to remain unbiased. However, you can bet he’ll be dining out with the rest of the city August 18-23 and 25-30.
Moscaritolo will be the first to admit that Boston wasn’t always known for its food. “As I say somewhat jokingly but with significant validity, we’ve come a long way from when you thought of the Boston dining scene as lobster sandwiches and clam chowder,” he says. “And forget about baked beans, which always drove me crazy. That’s what the dining scene was in the 1960s and ’70s. Now we have chefs known across the region and around the globe. We certainly are one of the top culinary destinations in the U.S.”
The GBCVB launched the first Boston Restaurant Week in 2001. Scheduled during a notoriously slow time in the restaurant world, the event was intended to draw diners out of their late-summer stupor. Just thirty-five restaurants signed up for the five-day event — and Moscaritolo says he had to beg every last restaurateur to participate. Today it spans two weeks in August and two weeks in March, with 190 local restaurants offering discounted prices on multi-course meals during lunch and dinner. “It’s a way to attract people who are in the city to your restaurant, to keep your employees working a steady schedule,” Moscaritolo says. “Our bottom line is: It’s a winner for the dining public, a winner for the staff and employees, the restaurant suppliers, and the restaurants owners and chefs.”
This year’s charitable partner, Community Work Services, is also a winner; Moscaritolo projects the promotion will raise between $15,000 and $20,000 for the organization. Most importantly, perhaps, the popular event helps the GBCVB brand the greater Boston area as a foodie destination. “It’s a way of validating this concept that the dining is now a very key part of Boston,” Moscaritolo says. “When people think of Boston, they think of cultural institutions and historical attractions. They’ve always been the underpinnings of our brand, but it’s grown and flourished to include the culinary scene.”