Sixteen Harford County restaurants will showcase their menus during Restaurant Week, which begins Friday and runs through Sunday, Aug. 27.
"This is a way for people to get out and try a restaurant they may have been interested in, but haven't been there yet," Greg Pizzuto, executive director of Visit Harford!, which sponsors Restaurant Week. "It also allows restaurants to really showcase not only some of their existing menus, but many take the opportunity to be creative and come up with something new for even their existing patrons to try."
Participating restaurants include Bushmill Tavern, Abingdon; Alchemy Elements, Birroteca, Greek Village, Humagalas, Liberatore's, Pairings Bistro, Sean Bolan's, Silver Spring Mining Company, Sunny Day Cafe, Vagabond Sandwich Co., all in Bel Air; Boxcar Restaurant, Edgewood; Basta Pasta, Uncle's Hawaiian Grindz, Fallston; Backfin Blues, Havre de Grace; and Mountain Branch, Joppa.
Visit Harford! also sponsored a Restaurant Week in January.
Feedback from that earlier event was that it was a very successful, Pizzuto said.
"It drove more traffic to restaurants in a time when they may or may not have had that level of traffic and activity," he said.
Some restaurants have found their business is steady in January, and they wanted to drive traffic during the summertime slowdown, he said.
"That's why we decided to have two," Pizzuto said.
That's also why some restaurants that participated in January aren't part of Restaurant Week this time around, he said, while some new ones are on board.
Participating restaurants will offer special fixed price lunch and/or dinner menus during Restaurant Week, with prices starting at $10.17, in $5 increments. Each menu will include distinct choices to appeal to a range of diners. Prices exclude beverages, taxes and gratuity, unless otherwise noted by the restaurant. Regular menus, including any available kids' menus, will also be offered during the promotion week.
For the restaurants, Restaurant Week is a free promotion. Visit Harford! takes care of all the advertising and promotion, Pizzuto said, including radio and website advertising, a social media push and post cards distributed.
In years past, restaurants had to pay to be part of Restaurant Week, he said.
"We're not doing that. We want to help them, we want to give back to the community," Pizzuto said. "It's a free way for these restaurants to participate and hopefully get some more business."
"It's a win-win for everybody because when they have traffic, that money is re-spent in the county," he said. "It has an economic impact in the county."