It’s time again for Baltimore’s Winter Restaurant Week! Spanning 10 days from Friday, January 21 to Sunday, January 30, about 100 participating restaurants offer the opportunity to indulge yourself with a three course dinner for $35. A small number of these restaurants also offer a special $20 three course lunch. (FYI – Tax, tip and drinks are not included in the special promotional pricing) Each restaurant creates special, limited Restaurant Week menus offering several options for each of the three courses.

Jointly sponsored by the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the city-supported Visit Baltimore organizations, Restaurant Week was initiated in the summer of 2006 with the goal of luring people to get out and enjoy a potential “bargain” dinner while experiencing firsthand the pleasures of city life. The initial summer event proved to be such a success that the winter counterpart event was added in 2008. Participating restaurants must be members of Downtown Partnership or Visit Baltimore organizations and each pay a $150 fee which is used to help underwrite the significant marketing effort associated with the event. The event pricing is determined by the two sponsoring groups with advice and counsel from participating restaurants.

This winter, participating restaurants have committed to support The Journey Home, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s new plan to help address the issue of over 3,400 long term homeless people in Baltimore. Each restaurant will have a box to accept donations or you can you use your cell phone and text “JOIN” to 20222 to donate $10.00 to help support this good cause now. The Restaurant Week web site provides a daily updated list of participating restaurants and special event menus. According to Aubrey Westgate of the Downtown Partnership approximately 15% of the participating restaurants sign up in the last 10 days before the event. This makes the website invaluable for identifying the last minute participants.

With limited menu options for the special event pricing, it’s wise to check out the options to determine ahead of time what your choices will be. The web site also indicates whether the restaurant offers the special Restaurant Week menus for lunch or if the special menu is available on Saturday and Sunday evenings. With many of the participating restaurants packed during Restaurant Week, reservations are essential. The Restaurant Week web site has links to the OpenTable.com reservation system which allows you to conveniently make reservations online. The Restaurant Week web site is very popular; with more than 375,000 visitors during last year’s event according to Downtown Partnership. Restaurants participating in the downtown area, where $35 is a bargain compared to their normal menu prices, and also GayLife “DiningOUT” favorites include: The Prime Rib, Fogo de Chao, Oceanaire, City Café, Brewers’ Art, Sacha’s, Hull Street Blues and The Wine Market. Part of the adventure of Restaurant Week though is discovering and enjoying restaurants that you didn’t know about or haven’t visited yet. With almost 100 restaurants to pick from, odds are you’ll find one that’s worth trying!

Related Internet Links:

Baltimore Restaurant Week: baltimorerestaurantweek.com
Downtown Partnership: godowntownbaltimore.com
Visit Baltimore: baltimore.org
Journey Home: www.journeyhomebaltimore.org

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