Westminster Restaurant Week to launch Friday, with most participants ever

Restaurateurs across Westminster are hard at work putting final touches on menus, scheduling employees and preparing meals for Westminster Restaurant Week starting this Friday through April 17 at eateries throughout the city.

This is the fifth year for the annual Restaurant Week, a companion to the larger Carroll County Restaurant Week held in the summer. According to Missie Wilcox, marketing consultant with the City of Westminster, said this year features the largest collections of restaurants in the event's history, with 19 locations offering up special deals and meals.


Throughout the Week — which is actually 10 days — restaurants will feature deals on old favorites as well as original meals created particularly for the event. Participating restaurants vary from lunch spots like J's Cafe, to bars like Raphael's and Johannson's to fine dining spots like Paradiso.

"You can spend the whole day eating from restaurant to restaurant," Wilcox said. "It's like walking through Epcot, in terms of the variety of offerings."

Blue Bistro Restaurant and Catering is participating in the week for the first time this year. Co-owner and chef Melissa Fordham said she was excited to finally be a part of the event.

"We always do it in the summer, and it's been a huge hit for us," Fordham said. "We love restaurant weeks. It packs the restaurants with new faces."

Fordham said taking the hit on discounted meals is more than worth it to encourage people to try out their food for the first time. She said that if they earn just a single new customer from the event who visits a few times a year, the sales will have paid for themselves.

Sunday, April 17, will be marked with a special celebration and single-day Wine Stroll.

The Wine Stroll, which debuted last year, features wine tastings at downtown businesses. Wilcox said it was hugely popular last year, and people have been excited for the stroll to return. The event features live music, wine tastings and a wine-making demonstration at the House of Brews.

Tickets for the Wine Stroll are $5, which includes a glass to take from place to place. Throughout the town will be three drop-off spots — at Meltdown, Birdie's and Cob 51 — where drinkers can drop off their newly purchased bottles of wine to pick up after they're finished wandering.

Wilcox said Sunday is going to be the culmination of the 10-day celebration.

"There's no reason to bring out a single pot or pan," Wilcox said. "Put that stuff down, pick up a menu and try a restaurant you haven't tried before."

This is the second year for William Schaeffer, owner of Lone Star Barbecue in Westminster. He said he was impressed with how many came out to take part in the celebration last year, with huge crowds stopping by the restaurant throughout the 10 days.

Schaeffer said this kind of communal advertising is a great opportunity for businesses throughout Westminster.

"It helps all of us get our name out there," Schaeffer said. "If people are able to come in here and eat a meal for less than normal, then they're going to keep coming back to spread the word. This way we keep all help each other out the most."

If you go:


What: Westminster Restaurant Week

When: Friday, April 8, to Sunday, April 17

Where: Downtown Westminster

Cost: Varies per restaurant

For more information: Visit www.westgov.com/382/Restaurant-Week or call 410-848-9000.

Participating restaurants:

Artisan Wine Co.

Birdie's Cafe

Blue Bistro

Conah's Bar & Grill

CUP Tea Bar & Cafe

Furnace Hills Coffee Co.

Giulianova Groceria & Deli

Harry's Main Street Grille

J Cafe

JeannieBird Baking Co.

Johanssons Dining House

Lone Star Barbeque


O'Lordans Irish Pub

Paradiso Pizzeria

Paradiso Ristorante


Starry Night Bakery

Tim Thai