DANVILLE (KPIX) -- Restaurants in the East Bay are hoping for a big boost in business this holiday weekend after a difficult winter season dealing with COVID cases and restrictions.
The second annual Taste Tri-Valley Restaurant Week is happening at a time when COVID restrictions are much more relaxed.
The dining room at the popular Bridges restaurant was bustling Sunday evening. It's one of about 30 restaurants in the Tri-Valley participating in the 10-day event, featuring unique menu items and special meals.
For example, Bridges is offering a three-course dinner for $50.
"I hope it just promotes people coming out and enjoying the night and maybe discovering Bridges for the first time or rediscovering our restaurant," said assistant general manager Jeff Leiden. "Last year was challenging. It was during COVID. It really didn't take off."
Already, Leiden says, turnout at the restaurant is better than it was this time last year.
This is the first weekend the indoor mask mandate has been dropped in most Bay Area counties and settings.
"I forget to (mask up) sometimes and I feel a little bit naked without it," said Debbie Gibbs of Danville, who dined Sunday at Bridges.
"I always forget my mask so, now, if I forget it, it doesn't matter so much," said Bob Gibbs of Danville.
Restaurants in Danville, Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin are taking part in Taste Tri-Valley after a tough start to the winter as the omicron COVID variant surged.
"Our staff has recovered. We had a lot of sick staff, a lot of people canceled during the end of the holidays so a lot of people have been coming out," Leiden said.
At the nearby Vine and Spirits, we met a group of women celebrating a birthday. Colleen Tullus ordered the "Vine Burger," featured on the Restaurant Week menu.
"Oh, think it's great -- the promotion's really positive," said Tullus.
Tullus is also ready to leave her mask at home.
"I enjoy it. I'm a teacher so I wear one all day long with my students so I love being able to come indoors somewhere and not have to wear it." she said.
Taste Tri-Valley runs through Sunday Feb. 27. For more information, visit http://visittrivalley.com/restaurantweek
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