South Jersey is teeming with Restaurant Weeks. Typically sprouting up in the spring and fall, Restaurant Weeks are a win/win scenario — eateries get some much-needed business in the off-season and eaters get to branch out, trying the best that restaurants have to offer for a lower price.
While many towns have gotten onboard by hosting their own, perhaps the mother-load of Restaurant Weeks is Atlantic City’s, taking place this year March 5 to 10. A.C. is hailed as a foodie’s wonderland all year round — but during Restaurant Week everything gets a little cheaper, something that Director of Marketing for the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Larry Sieg cites as the main draw of the event.
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“It affords people the chance to go to a restaurant that may be out of their usual budget,” Sieg says, noting the multi-course meals that will be available for the fixed price of $15.17 for lunch and $35.17 for dinner.
For those who can’t wait until March to sample some of what Restaurant Week has to offer, the CRDA will host a kickoff event 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s Event Center. There, over a dozen restaurants like Phillips Seafood, Il Verdi, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, Gallagher’s Steak House and Guy Fieri’s Chophouse will give guests a taste of their Restaurant Week picks for the year.
“I think it’s a great lead into the event,” Sieg says. “People get to sample some of the foods, specifically from restaurants they may still be considering checking out. At this point, people may not know what restaurants they’re going to go to. So at the kickoff they can get in the spirit of the week and try something new.”
The kickoff event also has deep community ties, as does Restaurant Week as a whole. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Community FoodBank of New Jersey and the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College. The culinary program at ACCC will be further involved with the event, as the winning menu of the Pre-Chef Grand Prix cooking competition, which was held on Feb. 7, will be served at the event. The students who won the competition took home a $1,000 scholarship and a ticket to the kickoff, where they will attend as guests while others prepare their winning dishes.
The $35 ticket to the kickoff also includes entries into drawings for Restaurant Week prizes, plus ticket holders can enjoy a cash bar and music by the Kenny I Orchestra. Director of Entertainment Publications at the Press of Atlantic City Scott Cronick will host his radio show “Off the Press with Scott Cronick” on 1400 WOND from 4 to 6 p.m. in front of Gypsy Bar that day, as well, in conjunction with the event.
Of course, all is in the effort to prepare the eager masses for what will be the ninth annual A.C. Restaurant Week.
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“I think what makes the Atlantic City Restaurant Week different is the variety of restaurants participating — from casual to high end,” Sieg says. “Celebrity chefs add an element to our Restaurant Week that others don’t offer. We have everyone from Wolfgang Puck and Jose Garces — a lot of celebrity chefs that really resonate with people today … We also have historic local restaurants like Knife and Fork and Dock’s Oyster House. It’s really a testament to the quality of food we have here in A.C.”