(May 3, 2013) Approximately 30 resort establishments are signed up to participate in Ocean City’s seventh annual spring Restaurant Week, which begins Sunday and run through May 19.
Restaurant Week organizers made a few changes last year and, for the most part, the new format was appealing to both diners and restaurateurs.
During each of the first four years of spring Restaurant Week, resort businesses offered two- and three-course lunch and dinner menus, featuring respective $20 and $30 dishes, for one week.
Promoters listened to suggestions from diners and restaurateurs who wanted to extend the 2011 promotion from one week to two.
In October 2011, during the fall edition of Restaurant Week, the two-week promotion included more options for the dining public. Organizers created different price points of $10, $20, $30 and $40 in order to include a wider range of restaurants and give diners additional options.
“Bonus Bites & Beverages” was a new feature added to the promotion that offered participants something extra, such as a free glass of wine, appetizer or dessert.
Since the different price points were well received, the 2012 spring promotion mimicked the fall event. Twenty-two establishments participated and it was a success, according to Susan Jones, executive director of the Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, organizer of Restaurant Week.
The 2013 spring promotion will also run for two weeks and feature $10, $20, $30 and $40 price points.
The objective of Restaurant Week is to bring business to resort eateries and to introduce diners to places they haven’t visited before. The goal also is to stimulate the local economy by encouraging people to dine out, especially on weekdays.
“It’s an opportunity to dine out on a budget. [Diners] will know what they’re going to spend before they go out,” Jones said.
Diners can view Restaurant Week menus at www.oceancityrestaurantweek.
com or call the Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association at 410-289-6733.
One or two price points are being offered at most restaurants. Some restaurants will not feature the promotion on Fridays and Saturdays.
Phillips restaurants have participated in the event for several years, according to Michelle Torres, marketing director for Phillips Foods Inc.
Phillips Crab House on 21st Street and Phillips Seafood House on 141st Street will offer three courses for $30.
“Restaurant Week gives potential guests the opportunity to try new or be reintroduced to restaurants. As a participating restaurant, this promotion drives traffic during a slower time frame,” Torres said.
Fager’s Island on 60th Street has been a Restaurant Week participant for a number of years, as well.
“People want to try new things, new places, so we want to be involved in that. We are still working on the menu, but the main idea will be to feature some new variations of some or our longtime standard favorites,” General Manager Kevin Myers said earlier this week. Three courses for $20 will be offered on a light fare menu. A fine dining menu will feature three courses to choose from for $40.
Peaky’s Rooftop Restaurant & Bar, located on the top floor of the Fenwick Inn on 138th Street, opened its doors two months ago and General Manager Shawn Kotwica hopes to attract new patrons during Restaurant Week.
Sunday through Thursday, customers can choose an item from a special $9.99 menu. On Friday and Saturday nights, or upon request during weekdays, two can dine for $49.99. The promotion includes an appetizer to share, two salads, two entrees (accompanied by two sides), one dessert and a bottle of house wine.
“It’s a great way for [diners] to get a bargain price and taste our fresh dishes,” Kotwica said.
Several chefs have created special dishes for Restaurant Week, while a few other establishments have selected favorites from their regular menu to showcase.
“Restaurants who are the most creative seem to have the most success and are the busiest during Restaurant Week,” Jones said.
After attending a conference in Baltimore several years ago, Jones pitched the idea for Restaurant Week to the HMRA board of directors, citing its success in other parts of the country. They loved the idea.
The first spring Restaurant Week took place in 2007. Because the spring campaign was so successful, a fall Restaurant Week was added. It has also proven to be prosperous.
Bayside Skillet, 77th Street
BJ’s on the Water, 75th Street
BLU Crabhouse & Raw Bar, 24th Street
Blue Ox Bar & Grill, 127th Street
Captain’s Table, 15th Street, inside Courtyard by Marriott Hotel
Conners Beach Cafe, 207 S. Bdwk.
Crab Alley, Sunset Ave., WOC
Fager’s Island, 60th Street
Finnigan’s Irish Pub & Eatery, 48th Street inside Princess Bayside Hotel
Galaxy 66 Bar & Grille, 66th Street
Giuseppe O’Leary’s, Sunset Ave., WOC
Greene Turtle West, Route 611, WOC
Hemingway’s at the Coral Reef, 17th Street inside Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites
Horizons Oceanfront Restaurant, 101st Street inside Clarion Resort Hotel
Jules Restaurant, 118th Street
Layton’s Restaurant, 92nd Street
Nick’s Original House of Ribs, 144th St.
Peaky’s Rooftop Restaurant & Bar, 138th Street, inside Fenwick Inn
Phillips Crab House, 21st Street
Phillips Seafood House, 141st Street
Reflections Restaurant, 66th Street
Shark on the Harbor, Sunset Ave., WOC
Sunset Grille, Sunset Ave., WOC
The Hobbit Restaurant, 81st Street
The Rice House Bistro, Route 611, WOC
Victorian Room, 28th Street, inside Dunes Manor Hotel
Whiskers Pub, 118th Street