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More than 30 eateries participating in Harford Restaurant Week

The bar area at Humagalas in Bel Air has seating at high-top tables. It is one of the Harford County establishments participating in Restaurant Week 2019.
The bar area at Humagalas in Bel Air has seating at high-top tables. It is one of the Harford County establishments participating in Restaurant Week 2019.(Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Nearly three dozen Harford County restaurants are gearing up for Restaurant Week 2019, which begins today and continues through Jan. 27.

Thirty-four restaurants were registered as of Thursday to bring dining specials to their patrons, according to Greg Pizzuto, director of Visit Harford!, which promotes tourism in the county.

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“Restaurant Week advertises some of the good local restaurants in the area. It gives people the opportunity to realize maybe for first time that some of these places are there,” said Mike Venanzi of Humagalas in Bel Air. “It’s an opportunity to try a place at a good saving, a good price, and get a very high quality meals at a less expensive rate.”

Visit Harford! will spend $15,000 to $20,000 this year promoting Restaurant Week with advertising on radio stations, print and television and for the first time, on smart phones.

“We advertise not only in the area, but outside,” Pizzuto said. “Ideally we want people to come in and experience what Harford County has to offer.”

January is typically a slow period for restaurants, he said, and Restaurant Week is scheduled one on weekend when there is no football, since many people tend to stay in and watch the playoffs.

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Specials used to be offered based on the year, for example $20.16 for a few set menu offerings.

“But we learned over the years, we don’t want to be the one telling the restaurants what they need to offer or how to price it,” Pizzuto said.

Humagalas is offering two alcoholic drinks, one appetizer and two entrees for $40. The menu includes burgers with one side or any of their brick oven pizzas.

“We’re a farm to table restaurant, and sometimes people take that as being expensive or thinking they won’t like it,” Venanzi said. “You can try something outside your normal palette of places you would go.”

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Owners of Humagalas have seen a noticable increase in business during Restaurant Week, not just on weekends but during the week as well.

“We think it’s an excellent opportunity and we jump on board any of that,” he said.

Most of the restaurants respond very well to Restaurant Week, Pizzuto said.

“One even said it was their best 10-day period in January in a number of years, and they attributed it to Restaurant Week,” he said.

Participating restaurants include TB3 Gar and Grill in Aberdeen; Bacco Italian and Wine Bar, Bushmill Tavern, in Abingdon; Alchemy Elements, Black Eyed Suzie’s, Coffee Coffee, Greek Village, Humagalas, Independent Brewing Company and Crossroads Food Truck behind Independent, Liberatore’s, Main Street Tower, Neo Pizza Kitchen + Bar, Newberry Cafe, One Eleven Main, Pairings Pistro, Riverside Pub & Grille, Route 24 Ale House, Sunny Day Cafe, Vagabond Sandwich Company and Yoga Fresh, in Bel Air; Bata Club in Belcamp; Island Spice Grille & Lounge in Edgewood; Basta Pasta and Uncle’s Hawaiian Grindz in Fallston; Enotria in Forest Hill; Backfin Blues, Lagom, MacGregor’s, Rodgers House Tavern and Tidewater Grille, in Havre de Grace; Mountain Branch Golf, Grille & Pub in Joppa; and Geneva Farm Golf Course in Street.

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