Oakland Restaurant Week dishes up deals

- Diners can save some dollars in Oakland this week.

More than 100 restaurants are participating in the city's 6th annual Oakland Restaurant Week event that runs from January 14th to January 24th, serving up special menus with discounts up to 25 percent from normal prices.

The goal is to attract new diners to town. That's a tall order for Oakland which is trying to compete with other Bay Area cities for diners and dollars.

For many foodies, though, Oakland has become a destination that fits the bill.

"I spend way more time going out to Oakland than the city just because of the options we now have. It's very close," said Michele Yin who came from Emeryville to dine with friends at Nido, a few blocks from Jack London Square.

"Really, the quality of food has risen so much," Yin said.

Food and high spirits filled Swan's Market in Old Oakland Wednesday night for the kickoff party.

According to the Visit Oakland organization, a non-profit that markets Oakland to travelers, there's been explosive growth in the city, with more than 300 new restaurants opening since 2013.

"Oakland feels like the epicenter of something really exciting happening right now and I feel like we're right in the middle of it," said Keba Konte, who started up Red Bay Coffee in Oakland with micro loan crowdfunding.

"Last couple years has been a really big spike in growth," said Konte, whose company supplies coffee to local restaurants and bars.

The growing number of restaurants also means more tax revenue for Oakland, which pulled in about $10 million in sales taxes last year from restaurants and hotels.

"I can tell you our sales tax revenue is up 6 percent year over year," said Mark Sawicki, the Oakland Director of Economic Development.

Emanne Desouky opened her store Super Juiced just three months ago at Swan's Market which features women entrepreneurs.

"It just really captures what Oakland is about supporting small businesses," said Emanne Desouky, Owner of Super Juiced.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says she hopes to bring even more restaurants and small businesses to town in short order.

"We're doing things like crowd-source micro lending for non-traditional borrowers. And that's something that's really helping in the food industry and restaurant industry,” said Schaaf.

“I think most of us who live here in Oakland or near to Oakland, know there are lots of good options here, but it brings in other people who might not know that. I think that's a great thing,” said Sylvie Thome of Oakland

Mayor Schaaf said the city is forming a partnership with crowdfunding website, Kiva, that could bring even more restaurants to town.

Restaurant Week officially starts on Thursday and continues through January 24th.

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