Buon Appetito: Carroll Restaurant Week offers its second helping
By By Katie V. Jones
Aug 19, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Dante Liberatore already knew the value of participating in a "restaurant week" — a special promotion in which restaurants offer various discounts and special menus to showcase their establishments. With restaurants in Harford and Baltimore counties, he had seen these types of events be successful in promoting the industry overall.
So last year, he decided it was time for Carroll County — where he operates Liberatore's in Eldersburg — to join the trend.
In 2011 Liberatore joined with Ken Lurie, owner of Bud's at Silver Run, and the two pitched the idea to the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and the Carroll County Department of Economic Development/Tourism Office. "They put their arms around it," said Liberatore. Both organizations agreed to support the idea, and provided funds to market the week.
Finding restaurants to take part was the next step.
"It was not difficult," Liberatore said. "The fact that it is held in summertime ... we all can use some more traffic in restaurants."
About 20 restaurants took part last year. The majority of those, plus several more, have signed on for this year's Carroll County Restaurant Week, which opens today, Aug. 19, and runs through Aug. 26.
In all, 30 restaurants — from Eldersburg to Taneytown, Union Bridge to Mount Airy — are taking part in the week, offering special prices on certain menu items. (Go to http://www.carrollcountyrestaurantweek.com for a link to each restaurant's specials.)
One of the two-time participants is Gypsy's Tea Room in Westminster. Manager Lora Andrews said last year's inaugural event was a definite benefit.
"We definitely had a lot of people from out of the area," Andrews said of the 2011 promotion. "It brought a lot of new people."
This year, Gypsy's will offer its "royal tea" — a full presentation that includes soup, salad, scones, sandwiches, dessert and, of course, tea — at a discounted price for restaurant week.
"Reservations are recommended," she said. "We're filling up very quickly."
Andrews is also the owner of a CUP Tea Bar & Cafe in Westminster. Andrews said it was only natural to have her new restaurant, open since September 2011, participate in the week by offering lunch specials.
"I think it's fun," Andrews said of the week. "It is a good excuse to meet with friends. It is a fun social time, too."
Restaurants are an important facet of a county's tourism trade, and contribute a significant amount to the area's economy, from taxes to employment.
But Liberatore said he views the week as, essentially, a "customer appreciation week."