A time for culinary creation and deals on meals, designed to give local businesses a boost, has returned to Frederick.
August 8 through 14 is Frederick Restaurant Week. The event is typically held in March and August.
The annual event, which dates to 2010, aims to fill seats and promote restaurants during what can be a slower time of year, according to Jake Wynn, marketing and communications manager for Visit Frederick.
“It’s really an opportunity to get together with all of the great restaurants here in Frederick County and to market ourselves kind of as a collective to potential visitors who are interested in a variety of dining experiences … to experience a little taste of what Frederick has to offer,” Wynn said Monday.
The event is presented by Visit Frederick and The Frederick News-Post.
On average, restaurants have seen a 10% increase in sales during Restaurant Week, according to Wynn.
He described the week as a time for restaurants to try something new or offer specials.
At Brewer’s Alley, the North Market Street brew pub is using the week to revive some throwback dishes.
Buffalo chicken pizza and chicken and waffles are on the menu again, manager Greg Brown said. There are also beer-battered onion rings and a 10-ounce New York strip steak.
For those with a sweet tooth, the in-house pastry chef offers strawberry parfait and chocolate banana cream pie made from scratch.
Brown said if items are received well during Restaurant Week, guests may find them on the menu in the future.
“Any opportunity that… the community can come together to create a good experience I think is a win,” he said.
At Showroom on North East Street, general manager Matthew Josephs said Restaurant Week is “always a nice boost” for the eatery.
“I’m sure we’ll see an increase in numbers from weeks prior,” Josephs said Monday afternoon. “It’s also a nice opportunity to find some new guests who might not come out on usual nights.”
Showroom is offering a two-course brunch menu and a three-course dinner menu for Restaurant Week. Chicken pot pie fritters, watermelon gazpacho, fish and chips, meatloaf, bread pudding and milkshakes are among this week’s delectables.
Showroom and Brewer’s Alley are among 14 participating restaurants.
Restaurant Week participation has been higher in the past. Wynn said they had 18 participants in March.
Visit Frederick tries to encourage restaurant engagement, he said, but some businesses with workforce struggles may not be able to commit.
There is a registration fee of about $250, according to Wynn, which helps Visit Frederick promote Restaurant Week.
Wynn said they want to attract local residents to restaurants and also people from areas such as Baltimore, DC and Philadelphia. The hope is that visitors from outside Frederick decide to stay a while and pair their restaurant excursion with a trip to local museums or live events, Wynn said.
Frederick sees more than 2 million visitors annually from people who travel 50 or more miles away, according to Richard Griffin, director of the city’s Department of Economic Development. He believes Restaurant Week contributes to those numbers.
“It makes a huge difference for the restaurant,” Griffin said.
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