Already missing CCD Restaurant Week discounts? If so, you’re in luck. From Feb. 24 through Mar. 6, East Passyunk Avenue is hosting its very own Restaurant Week for the eighth year in a row. Representing 31 businesses located on the one–mile stretch, visitors can feast on prix fixe lunch and/or dinner for a price of $15, $25, or $35.
Many participating restaurants will be featuring new dishes on their menus alongside classic favorites. “In order to participate, [restaurants] need to put together a specific menu that either presents three courses that contain options from their existing menu or, in many cases, what they’ll do is pull out special dishes that are either specific to restaurant week or are not on the menu on a regular basis,” Executive Director of the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District Adam Leiter says. “So that represents something that you wouldn’t be able to really get at any other time that you walked in the door.”
According to Leiter, the fixed menus allow patrons to sample the full breadth of what each participating East Passyunk Avenue restaurant has to offer while also getting a good deal. “It’s giving you a chance to try a higher–end dining option that you would normally be able to go to,” Adam adds.
But the advantages of taking part in Restaurant Week are more than just monetary. Since its inception, Restaurant Week has been an opportunity for visitors to experience the diverse selection of dining options that East Passyunk Avenue has to offer.
“[There] was a really great point in time where the avenue was just exploding with a lot of new spots that were opening up and following in the great footsteps of a lot of classics that have been here for decades,” Leier explains. “We were really starting to see the transition into more expanded fine dining and new, diverse culinary options coming in that was beyond just Italian or modern American.”
If you're having trouble narrowing down which restaurants to check out, Leiter gave Street the rundown on which locations he considers a must–visit.
If you’re looking for something new that falls in the $15 price point, try out Big Catch Poke. New to Restaurant Week, Big Catch Poke opened its doors back in December and has been dishing out tasty poke bowls ever since. At $25, Adam recommends that attendees stop by Marra's—an Italian restaurant that has been an East Passyunk Avenue staple for over 90 years.
“It’s one of those places that people have gone with their grandparents and have memories of all that,” Leiter notes.
If you’re looking for something a little more untraditional, however, Adam adds that Flannel is another great $25 option. “[Flannel] is a newer, southern cooking spot where they have everything from fried chicken and waffles to pulled pork sliders,” Leiter says, “They also have something great that I recommend [ordering] called the ‘Mac Daddy,’ which is essentially sliced loaves of mac–n–cheese.”
On the finer dining end, River Twice, a modern American BYOB that received a three bell review from Craig LaBan at the Philadelphia Inquirer, is a staple for this year's Restaurant Week. Meanwhile, Bing Bing Dim Sum, another one of Leiter's favorites, is dishing out Chinese plates with a Jewish–American twist, also at price of $35.
And after you’ve finished your meal, make sure to browse the variety of retail options that East Passyunk Avenue has to offer. From independent bookstores to dance studios, the avenue isn't just limited to award–winning restaurants. “There’s an amazing business and service component down here as well,” Adam says, “In this one–mile long stretch that is completely walkable from end to end we have over 150 independently–owned businesses.”
Interested in learning more about Restaurant Week? Leiter advises patrons to follow @eastpassyunk on Instagram and Facebook to stay informed on the latest updates. And if you’re particularly interested in any restaurant, feel free to get in–touch with its management. After all, Leiter hopes that Restaurant Week will help forge connections between business owners and customers.
“When you walk into the majority of these restaurants, you are either going to be interacting with or in the presence of the chef or owner directly. There’s a direct connection to the people who are running this business."