Restaurant Week returns to Harford County

Travis Szerensits, chef de cuisine at Uncle’s Hawaiian Grindz prepares a plate of potstickers at his Fallston restaurant. U.S. Army photo by Jon Bleiweis, APG News

More than two dozen area restaurants are set to take part in Harford County Restaurant Week, starting Jan. 19.

In its second year back from a hiatus, Restaurant Week is organized by Visit Harford, the county’s tourism organization. The 10-day promotion, taking place Jan. 19-28, gives diners a chance to grab a bite to eat at a discounted price, while area eateries get a chance to show off specials or try something new.

Greg Pizzuto, executive director of Visit Harford, said the county’s restaurant scene has expanded in recent years to include more quality restaurants. Having the event in January gives the restaurant owners a chance to bring in business during a traditionally-slow month.

“If a county doesn’t have a restaurant week, it almost says to people looking at your county that you really don’t have much to offer,” he said.

The mango pudding dessert, a special for Harford County Restaurant Week, is pictured at Uncle’s Hawaiian Grindz in Fallston. It is layered with sweet mint syrup, coconut mousse, macadamia nuts and fresh mango. U.S. Army photo by Jon Bleiweis, APG News

Restaurant Week also allows local chefs to be creative, offering off-menu specials that patrons wouldn’t normally get to try.

“Everybody does it a little differently,” Pizzuto said. “Many times we see the chefs do something new and unique and try it out.”

Restaurants are asked to provide specials for breakfast, lunch or dinner at $5 increments, starting as low as $5.

In Fallston, Uncle’s Hawaiian Grindz will participat for the second time. Manager Ross Fox said the menu contains experimental items that, if they are successful, could end up on its next menu, which changes seasonally.

For Restaurant Week, its menu includes $15 two-course lunch specials and $30 three-course dinner specials.

“You just want to get people to know who we are,” he said.

The McHenry burger from Vagabond Sandwich Shop in Bel Air features bacon, a 2 ounce lump crab cake, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce and Old Bay remoulade. U.S. Army photo by Jon Bleiweis, APG News

Vagabond Sandwich Company owner Ben Meyer said participating in Restaurant Week was an easy decision for his Bel Air shop .

For $10, patrons can choose one of the restaurant’s seven grilled cheese sandwiches, along with one side and a cookie. For $15, patrons can choose one of eight burgers, one side and a cookie.

“Everyone wants to be a part of it, so why not,” he said. “By not doing it, that would be silly.”

Visit Harford offers a second restaurant week in August, when many restaurants take advantage of seasonal produce from area farmers’ markets, Pizzuto said.

For a complete list of participants and menus, visit harfordcountyrestaurantweek.com or download the free Destination Harford app, where users can also make reservations and get directions.