Baltimore County officials and restaurateurs gathered at Café Troia in Towson on Wednesday morning to kick off the summer edition of Baltimore County Restaurant Week, which gives diners low-cost options at some of the county's premier restaurants. The promotion officially runs Aug. 10-19.
"We know that small businesses, specifically restaurants, are the backbone of our county's economy," said Keith Scott, president and CEO of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce, at the event. "We are fortunate, truly, to have so many great restaurants in Baltimore County."
The county's summer restaurant week, which is a collaboration between the county chamber and the Baltimore County Office of Tourism and Promotion, offers discounted prices from a unique pre-fixed menu at dozens of county restaurants in an effort to inject some life into the businesses during a period that's typically slow.
At the event Wednesday, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said the range of restaurants available made the county's restaurant week special.
"We have 38 restaurants participating this year, and it's a great range because they go from pubs and family dining to fusion to fine dining, " he said. "It's a really wide range of restaurants all throughout the county."
Carol Troia, co-owner of Café Troia, called both the kickoff event and restaurant week itself "an opportunity to showcase the restaurant, and get people who have not experienced the restaurant to come in and see it."
Troia said they've participated in both summer and winter restaurant weeks in years past, and she has seen first hand an 11 percent increase in sales caused by the promotions.
"It's true because you have a really nice selection of meals for a very low price," Troia said.
During the kickoff event, Café Troia offered its Black Rock Orchard grilled peach salad, which complemented the rest of the offerings from other restaurants.
Timonium's Basta Pasta offered a selection of crab balls and bruschetta, while Barrett's Restaurant of Hunt Valley served a crab and roasted corn soup and pulled pork sandwich.
Island View Café of Essex served their signature shrimp salad sandwiches, while Towson Tavern, a relative newcomer to the local scene, offered a grilled tenderloin dish, slow-braised short rib sliders and black truffle sea salt popcorn. Milton Inn, of Sparks, provided the desserts.
Michael Velleggia, general manager of Towson Tavern, said restaurant week was a great way for his restaurant to connect with more customers.
"It brings an extra buzz to the community, and it's extra exposure to some of the neighbors that we don't have in on a regular basis," he said.
For a full list of participating restaurants, menus and reservations, visit www.baltimorecountyrestaurantweek.com