(April 24, 2015) The ninth annual Ocean City Spring Restaurant Week is in full swing, with 21 establishments participating in the event designed to draw customers to local businesses as well as provide chefs with the opportunity to show what innovative dishes they have to offer.
Eateries will feature special, fixed-price menus at $10, $20, $30, $40 for lunch and dinner in addition to offering regular menu items until May 3.
“We encourage people to continue to take advantage of the promotion before it ends,” said Susan Jones, executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, which organizes the annual event. “It’s an opportunity for people to try something they have never had before at a set price, which makes it easier to budget and there are some great menus out there.”
Feedback from the first week has been positive and restaurants are seeing an increase in customers dining out, Jones said.
Bourbon Street on the Beach reported an outstanding response to the fall Restaurant Week and owner Barry Reichart was really busy on Sunday as the spring event kicked off.
“The whole dining room filled up, we had a lot more customers than expected and all week we have reservations lined up,” he added.
The 116th Street restaurant will be offering three courses for $30 or four courses for $35 including appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts.
“During Restaurant Week we like to showcase items on our regular menu like our Bourbon Street Steak, which comes with a salad and appetizer for only $30, it’s a steal, Reichart said. “In addition to adding a couple of new items.”
Look forward to favorites cooked from scratch including chargrilled oysters, lobster ravioli with crab Alfredo and jambalaya, he added.
The Hobbit Restaurant on 81st Street reported a great crowd on Tuesday night and did well on Sunday and Monday as well, Jones said.
They offer three courses for $35 with a number of choices such as crab cakes, slow cooked short rib, Italian stuffed shells and maple-glazed salmon.
BJ’s on the Water on 75th Street has participated in Restaurant Week since its inception.
“We try to be creative and round out selections, but our customers are used to our good, consistent food,” said owner Madlyn Carder. “We’re not the fanciest restaurant, but when you walk in the door you know you will get a quality product and that has kept us in business the past 36 years.”
BJ’s will be offering a $20 lunch menu with three courses including soups, salads and sandwiches. The dinner menu costs $30 with the choice of four courses including selections such as crab imperial, ravioli and a New York strip.
Jones mentioned a few other deals offered at local restaurants, which will last until Sunday, May 3.
Longboard Café on 67th Street will have two courses for $10 on the lunch menu, which features a selection of salads, burgers, sandwiches and tacos. The dinner menu features three courses for $40.
A $10 menu will be available at Happy Jack Pancake House with creative items on the menu including a crabby grilled cheese and croissant French toast, which is two flaky croissants dipped in cinnamon-egg batter and grilled, Jones said.
“They (Happy Jack) are thrilled with the promotion and have had many requests from the special menu,” Jones said.
Touch of Italy will offer three courses for $24.95 starting at 5 p.m. each night during Restaurant Week.
A three-course menu for $30 will be offered at Jules Restaurant on 118th Street, including a New York strip with a Jack Daniels tarragon cream sauce, aged Vermont cheddar infused mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables.
“It’s a great opportunity for chefs to go off the usual menu and prepare dishes they haven’t before,” Jones said.
Restaurant Week has been pushed up earlier in the year three times since its inception. The inaugural event was held in early June, then a few years later it was moved to mid-May and this year marks the first time Restaurant Week will be in April, she added.
“Several of the restaurants thought it would be a good idea to move Restaurant Week to get business going and kick off the season earlier,” Jones said.
Carder explained how these days with a variety of quality restaurants available across the Route 50 and 90 bridges it is harder to get locals into Ocean City to dine especially in the shoulder months when restaurants are emptier.
“The hope is Restaurant Week will entice locals to cross the bridge to see what is offered on the different menus and restaurants,” Carder said. “We hope people really enjoy themselves and realize they need to come into Ocean City more often to visit places open year-round with business owners who work hard and are in the thick of operations.”
Diners should note that alcohol, tax and gratuity are not included in the fixed-price deals and reservations are recommended.
“Spare your local economy by dining out. It will save anyone from having to cook, and just dine out Delmarva,” Jones said.
Visit www.oceancityrestaurantweek.com for a complete list of participating restaurants and to view the menus.