WESTON, Conn. — Elizabeth Menke was living in Germany when she noticed restaurant-goers using a kind of passport to try new places and get discounted meals.
“I thought this was a really cool idea,” said the Weston investment banker. “It gets people together over food.”
So when Menke got back to the States last year, she decided to launch her own enterprise, Entrée Nous. She hopes the go-to restaurant guide for Fairfield County will give local foodies a reason to step outside their dinner comfort zones.
The handsomely bound guide features 12 restaurants, and each has a two-page spread, including space for a passport stamp.
When eating at a featured restaurant, a diner simply presents their book and one guest receives a free entree. The book sells for $58 and pays for itself after about two outings, Menke said.
About 80 people attended a launch party for Entrée Nous on Thursday at Artisan in Southport, a featured restaurant.
“Chefs are farmers’ ambassadors, so I prefer to source many ingredients nearby, from resources like Westport Farmers Market and Sport Hill Farm,” said Artisan Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer. “Food commands respect, and I’m proud to support Entrée Nous by hosting its kickoff event.”
While Menke had the original idea, she teamed with Weston writer Aline Weiller for help crafting the copy, which includes short stories on each restaurant and some of the local farms and foodies that help make Fairfield County chefs shine.
Mica DeSantis, another Westonite, helps with sales. Part of the proceeds go to Community Plates, a national organization based in Norwalk that is committed to transferring fresh, usable food that would be thrown away at restaurants, markets and other sources to people in need.
The team said it was crucial to get a variety of restaurants for the book.
“We wanted an eclectic mix of all kinds of places and cuisines, different price points,” said Weiller, owner of Weston-based Wordsmith LLC. “Elizabeth went around and all of these restaurants started signing on.”
The inaugural Entrée Nous book is valid through Dec. 31. The team hope to create another for 2017, including some of the current restaurants and some new entries.
“This really gets you out and about,” Menke said.
The restaurants are:
- The Spread in South Norwalk,
- Barcelona in Fairfield,
- Café Chocopologie in South Norwalk,
- Elm in New Canaan,
- Artisan in Southport,
- Kawa Ni in Westport,
- The Little Pub in Ridgefield,
- Martel in Fairfield,
- J House Restaurant in Riverside,
- Cotto in Stamford,
- The Goose in Darien, and
- Bernard’s/Sarah’s Wine Bar in Ridgefield.
Entrée Nous is available at www.entreenous.net .
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