BUSHWICK — When they learned that Brooklyn's restaurant week had featured no restaurants from the neighborhood, Bushwick's culinary community went abuzz with frustration.
"I had conversations with friends about how the Borough President's office had snubbed Bushwick when it came to Dine in Brooklyn," said local entrepreneur Bob Murray of the borough-wide event. "There are so many great new restaurants that have opened here...and nobody here knew about it."
Then Murray had an epiphany: Bushwick deserved its own food festival.
"Bushwick does our own thing, we're our own entity," said the astute businessman, who runs the Bushwick-based company NFA catering. "We want to march to the beat of our own drum."
This week Murray and his colleague chef Nick Gilbert are officially unveiling their plans for the first ever Bushwick Restaurant Week, Murray said, which will run June 17 — 22 with any eateries that would like to partake.
"We won't do a fixed price meal like they do in other restaurant weeks, we might do an across-the-board percentage discount or something else...I'm meeting with a multitude of restaurant owners Monday and we're figuring out the details," Murray, 29, said. "And we might do collaborative events over the weekend, like a barbecue or fair."
Murray said he timed the week-long event to fall soon after Bushwick Open Studios, the neighborhood's most famous festival featuring hundreds of art studios, galleries and bars May 31 — June 2.
"We're going to sponsor Bushwick Open Studios and do heavy marketing and a PR push to get people to come back for restaurant week," said Murray, a resident of Bushwick for the past six years.
And even though many details have not yet been determined, Murray said he'd already received enthusiastic responses from at least a dozen restaurateurs, including owners of Mazelle, Mama Joy's and Mominette.
"We feel it's a great way to local restaurants to participate and encourage all the wonderful culinary experiences in Bushwick," staff from Mazelle said.
And Murray said that he was confident Bushwick Restaurant Week would be a hit.
"I'm creating the platform...and whoever wants to consider themselves in Bushwick can join," he said. "All my network is in Bushwick. I love what's happening in the area and the fact that we have so many burgeoning restaurants."
A spokesman for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said their office would gladly support the new neighborhood initiative.
"Anything that helps promote our borough's food and culinary industries is great for Brooklyn," the spokesman Mark Zustovich said. "We wish them well with their restaurant week!"
More details about Bushwick Restaurant Week can be found on the event's website, which will include a list of participating restaurants and ways to get involved starting Monday afternoon.