On Wednesday April 3rd, we attended the Restaurant Week Launch, held at Agave Mexican Bistro Dos. We had the chance to shoot the event, try some excellent food, and ask some questions about Restaurant Week. Karen Kervick, Administrative Coordinator at the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, helped us learn everything there is to know about Restaurant Week Portsmouth.
It's good to see you again, Karen. For those who don't know, what is Restaurant Week? And please tell us about this one, in particular.
Restaurant Week spotlights Greater Portsmouth as a culinary and cultural destination. Participating restaurants offer special three course prix fixe menus at two unbelievable prices: $16.95 for lunch or $29.95 for dinner.
Spring 2013 is the 10th restaurant week event put on by the Chamber, in conjunction with a member restaurant committee. It has grown from 18 restaurants in the fall of 2008 to 49 in past two events. Grill 28 and Margarita’s are new restaurants last year and BG’s Boathouse joined us this Spring.
Which Restaurants are involved?
The first Chamber Restaurant Week was Nov 10-16th, 2008. Participating restaurants at that time included: Agavé Mexican Bistro Dos, Black Trumpet Bistro, Blue Mermaid Island Grill, Brazo, The Carriage House in Rye, The Dolphin Striker, The Dunaway Restaurant at Strawbery Banke, The Green Monkey, Harbor’s Edge at the Sheraton Harborside, Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café, Library Restaurant, Pesce Blue, The Portsmouth Brewery, The Portsmouth Gas Light, Radici, Ristorante Massimo, Rudi’s, and The Wellington Room. Sixteen of the 18 are still participating. New restaurants but the locations are still participating: The Dunaway is now Mombo and Pesce Blue is now The District.
Have you seen a growing interest with each new event?
The last 3 events saw over 70,000 patrons come to the participating restaurants during each 10 day period. Spring 2012 recorded over 75,000 patrons. The estimated number of prix fixe meals served during the 10 day period has gone up from about 3,000 to over 19,000 last fall. Also, TV Diner has given Restaurant Week Portsmouth & the Seacoast shout outs on the show. Billy Costa attended the November 2010 launch party.
Who sponsors Restaurant Week?
The first sponsors were Favorite Foods, portsmouthnh.com, Seacoast Media Group, and Taste of the Seacoast. M.S. Walker has been our gold sponsor since November 2010. They are a 3rd and 4th generation family run business, founded in the 1920's and got into the alcohol distribution business after the repeal of prohibition in 1933. MS Walker provides the secret wine and pours for the Brown Bag Wine Tasting Challenge as part of the launch festivities. Prize this year is a $200.00 gift certificate to McKinnon’s Market. Last fall we had a tie for first place – two people guessed all varietals correctly!
What is the Restaurant Week Cocktail Challenge?
Martignetti Companies, our silver sponsor since March 2010, has sponsored the Restaurant Week Cocktail Challenge along with a spirit sponsor. Eight bartenders compete for the prize of “Restaurant Week Portsmouth & the Seacoast Cocktail” A plaque with their name and drink is given and hangs in the restaurant until the next event. This year’s spirit is Art in the Age in four varietals: Root, Sage, Rhuby, and Snap.
Who won the Cocktail Challenge?
The winner was Moxy bartender, Neal Jacobs.
Thank you, Karen, for taking the time to educate us about Restaurant Week. We heard that you are leaving the Chamber! Best wishes to you.
We had a great time at Agave for the Restaurant Week Launch Party. Restaurant Week ends on Saturday the 13th and will return in November the 8th through the 17th. Definitely get out to Portsmouth this week to take advantage of this great opportunity if you haven't already. Make sure to check out the photos below to see shots of the delicious food, more drinks, and more of the event. Feel free to share this, like us on our Facebook page, and leave a comment below. Thanks to Agave for hosting the event, and a big thanks to the Chamber of Commerce. Thanks for reading!