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As Restaurants Try To Rebound From the Pandemic, Dover Restaurant Week Kicks Off

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Alli Fam
/
NHPR

Restaurant-goers are encouraged to visit their favorite spots in Dover, N.H. after this weekend marked the start of its annual restaurant week. Local business owners hope it could bring some much-needed traffic to their establishments.

In past years, the participating restaurants offered a fixed menu and the event lasted only a week. This year, it'll last for two, and locals are encouraged to engage with it on social media for a chance to win a gift card to a local restaurant.

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Miguel Tellez is the owner of Cinco De Mayo Bar & Grill in Dover. Tellez has participated in the week for years, in its old format. He’s not quite sure what this year will bring, but he’s happy it’s two weeks rather than one. He says business has been difficult during the pandemic, so any added foot traffic is much appreciated.

Kaley Fellows agrees. She runs Roots Vegan Café & Juice Bar, just a short walk away from Tellez’s restaurant. She’s emerging from a particularly difficult few weeks. She recently received an email from the Small Business Administration letting her know that the loan she’d counted on wasn’t coming. She says they told her the pool of funding for the Restaurant Revitalization Program was depleted.

While recent coverage of her experience spurred support from many in the community, she says there was also a barrage of nasty, sexist, online comments. She’s still reeling.

“It made me feel anxious to come to work, knowing there’s a part of the community saying “I can’t wait for this business to close,” Fellows says.

She admits she’s hardly had a moment to think about restaurant week, but she’s trying to move forward. “It’s always fun to see people who come specifically because they want to try new food or experience new places, I hope that it brings in some new faces,” Fellows says.

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