From the Bay dining promotion begins Sunday

The Baltimore Sun

In an innovative weeklong dining promotion, fresh Maryland Seafood will be featured on the menus of restaurants stretching from Philadelphia to Northern Virginia. From the Bay, For the Bay: Dine Out was conceived and is being managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service.

"We are incredibly pleased by the enthusiasm surrounding our Dine Out celebration," said Governor Martin O’Malley. "Restaurants from across the mid-Atlantic have joined this effort to promote our Maryland seafood and that speaks volumes about the quality and variety that we have to offer. By promoting the bounty of the bay and encouraging Marylanders to buy local, this program supports local economies and jobs among watermen, seafood wholesalers and retailers, and the restaurant industry."

Participating restaurants in From the Bay, For the Bay: Dine Out will donate $1 for every Maryland seafood dinner they sell Oyster Recovery Partnership, a non-profit organization that works to replenish the population of the Chesapeake Bay's oyster population.

A list of the 200 participating restaurants is available on the From the Bay, For the Bay website. For Mt. Washington Tavern owner Ron Frisch, the promotion was a natural. "We're already involved with the Oyster Recovery Partnership's Shell Recycling Alliance," Frisch said. "We serve a lot of oysters here; for this week, we're running a special menu of grilled, fried and raw oysters."

"We were looking for a way to reconnect chefs to the local waterrmen," says Steve Vilnit of the fisheries service, "and we tried to make it easy for them to participate." Vilnit said that the proceeds from the promotion are sure to have an impact. "A dollar goes a long way. A dollar is a hundred oysters back in the bay."

The oyster partnership's executive director Stephan Abel says the timing of the dining promotion, one day before the reopening of the commercial striped bass hook-and-line harvest, is no accident. "The cool thing about this program is how it all ties together," Abel said. "Everybody gets to enjoy fresh, locally caught seafood."

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