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Springfield officials are launching the city's annual Restaurant Week

Springfield officials launched the city's Restaurant Week Wednesday. The event encourages local eateries to introduce new menu items and increase business.

Officials say they hope restaurant owners will connect both with new customers and potential employees.

Juan Latorre, chair of the Restaurant Week committee, said there's a need to fill the current work shortage in the industry.

"It's a tremendous opportunity for aspiring service industry workers, chefs and all the support staff that comes with it to check out a new place, which might be a great place to eat, but also might be their next position," Latorre said.

He says restaurant owners in the city have shown resilience in the past few years. Since the pandemic, they've had to adapt to new safety standards and supply chain shortages.

Harshman Singh owns the downtown Indian restaurant, Punjabi Tadka, and said he's faced his own challenges during the pandemic, but is excited to be moving forward and into this event with a special menu.

"One new item is a classic chili paneer inside of an egg roll shell and it's usually served with a side of masala sauce just as a dipping sauce," Singh said.

He said the event stirs much revenue for his business and gets customers excited to try new things.

"Promoting all these restaurants, promoting new menus, special menus, it usually gets people going. And if you give them a time frame of a week, they'll go," Singh said.

Springfield's Restaurant Week will take place June 7th to June 16th.

Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America.