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College Park launches first Restaurant Week


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Published on: Thursday, August 15, 2013

By Tauren Dyson

The inaugural Restaurant Week in College Park is in full swing as eateries dazzle Prince Georgians with fine cuisine.

The seven-day event, which runs through Saturday, began with an idea inspired by a city official.

“We’re always trying to find different ways to promote our businesses and with an influx of new eateries over the past few years, this seemed like the right event to help spotlight them,” said Michael Stiefvater, College Park economic development coordinator.

Sixteen restaurants will showcase their finest food and 14 will offer discounted prices on some dishes. Participating restaurants will also offer three-course pre-fixe meals.

RJ Bentley’s, the 35-year-old fixture on Route 1, regularly receives national television shout outs from ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale. But, as the number of students attending the University of Maryland during the summer session plummets, so does traffic in John Brown’s restaurant. Restaurant Week could draw customers who otherwise might not eat at his establishment.

“This affords us a chance to build new customers and get new activity,” Brown said. “The products we’re featuring are products that are already popular for us.”

Stiefvater echoed Brown’s sentiments, choosing to take advantage of the lag at the university during its off-peak hours, in order build a new customer base for local restaurants.

“August is typically one of, if not, the slowest month for our restaurants,” Stiefvater said. “So we thought the event would give them a boost before the University of Maryland’s fall semester begins.”

With that in mind, Stiefvater used social media and direct contact with several media outlets. This strategy was meant to draw as many people to College Park as possible, even those who lived outside if it.

“A lot of restaurants have opened in College Park recently. A healthy amount of those openings have been a little more upscale and diverse than some of our traditional dining options,” Stiefvater said. “So we now have enough restaurants to create an interesting Restaurant Week.”

The event runs through the weekend, and for more details visit: www.shopcollegepark.org.

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