Harford County's Restaurant Week was successful for the third straight year. Restaurateurs and patrons alike hailed the week as a big success and are already looking forward to next year's event.
Karen Romecki of Conowingo won more than $1,000 worth of local dining by participating in the Restaurant Week contest.
"I never win anything so this is really cool!" contest winner Romecki said. "I am so excited to have won this contest!"
Romecki works for a defense contractor at Aberdeen Proving Ground and had gone out to lunch with friends and co-workers to Sweet Devotions, where she entered the Restaurant Week contest. When asked where she would go first to dine out, Romecki said she had attended a baby shower at Mountain Branch and the food was awesome, so she couldn't wait to have dinner at the Grille and Pub.
More than 3,500 contest cards were entered by patrons to win the Restaurant Week grand prize of $1,000 worth of dining gift cards from participating restaurants. The winner was picked at random by Harford County Executive David R. Craig who presented their prize at Mountain Branch Grille & Pub in Joppa, which was also recognized for being the busiest restaurant during the promotion.
"We love Restaurant Week - it's great for business," commented Keith Davis, general manager of Mountain Branch, said. "The Restaurant Week promotion brought in a lot of new faces to our restaurant and many returned from last year. We hope to welcome them back throughout the year."
Mountain Branch also won in 2011 and exceeded last year's number by seven patrons for a total of 444 Restaurant Week customers. Davis said he thought the business brought in by Restaurant Week was even greater than that since tracking every customer can be challenging.
Restaurant activity during the promotion was tracked through the use of contest cards given out at each participating restaurant. Rounding out the top five busiest restaurants during the week were Liberatore's, Pairings Bistro, Silver Spring Mining Company and Sean Bolan's.
During Restaurant Week, Harford County participating restaurants offered special prix fixe menus for $20.12, plus beverage, taxes and gratuity. Like last year, participating establishments are reporting a 10 to 15 percent increase in business during the event.
"We are very pleased with how well the promotion went this year," Wini Roche, tourism manager and Restaurant Week coordinator, said. "We want to thank everyone who supported our local businesses."