Newcomers add to flavor of Restaurant Week in Carroll County

Diane Hale was mulling what to do to attract attention to her winery, Galloping Goose, in Hampstead, when she started thinking about Carroll County's annual Restaurant Week promotion.

While a winery is not a restaurant, Hale did use a caterer to provide food for various events at the winery.

She wondered if she could pair some wines with food and take part in the week.

"There's a lot of ways to sell your business," Hale said. "I was talking with Peggy (Soper, director of operations for Carroll County Chamber of Commerce) about restaurant week and she said, 'that will work.'"

"It's really unique," Soper said, of the addition of Galloping Goose to Restaurant Week. "We liked it. We thought it was a new attraction to promote business in the county. Maybe more wineries will participate next year."

Hale will offer two choices of wine, each with its own selection of heavy hors d'oeuvres throughout Restaurant Week, which begins today, Aug. 17, and runs through Aug. 24.

"We're very excited about Restaurant Week," Hale said. "It is a great opportunity to showcase the wines, along with the foods. It is an opportunity for people to come out and enjoy a little bit of food in a nice country setting."

Howard Gardner, owner of The Westminster Grill, is also excited to be participating in the county's restaurant week for the first time.

Since opening The Westminster Grill in April, Gardner has been pleased with his business, but he hopes to introduce more people to his "authentic" Philly cheese steaks by offering it as a special during the week.

"We travel to Philly every day to get fresh, oven-baked hoagie rolls," Gardner said, with pride. "Restaurant Week is ... an opportunity to try some new restaurants. A lot of people don't know we're here yet. Come out and give us a try."

The grill is among 24 restaurants around the county participating in the fourth annual event. Each offers a special menu for the week, according to Soper.

"We try to have something countywide. Carroll County is quite a large county with a lot of nice restaurants," Soper said. "Try a restaurant you would not typically go to. It's a nice little incentive to try new restaurants."

As in the past, the cost of the special meals will end with the year in cents. For example, meals range from $10.14 to $20.14.

"We encourage them to keep prices within a certain range," Soper said. "They tweak their menu a little bit, but it is totally up to them. There are only guidelines for the prices."

Typically, August is a slow month for restaurants as people leave home to take vacations, according to Kim McDermott, assistant manager at Liberatore's Restaurant in Eldersburg.

That is one of the reasons her boss, Dante Libratore helped create Restaurant Week four years ago.

Ken Lurie, of Bud's at Silver Run, also helped establish the week, though his restaurant is not participating this year because he is preparing to launch a new menu next week.

"It is a great week," Lurie said. "It does a great job not just for the participating restaurants but for all the restaurants in Carroll County. There are a variety of restaurants ... and this puts them in the public eye."

"There is something for everyone," Soper said. "A nice of variety of restaurants ... really have put together nice menus."

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