County executive Kevin Kamenetz insisted on taking home a "doggy bag" of some of the finest wares the county had to offer at the kick-off ceremony for Baltimore County Restaurant Week.
"My wife has already been online and she’s checking everything out. We’ve got our agenda packed for the next 10 days and nights,” he said.
Baltimore County Restaurant Week takes place from Jan. 12 to 21 and features lunch and dinner specials ranging from $10.12 to $35.12 at 36 different establishments.
“You’ve never really experienced crabs unless you’ve been to Costas in Dundalk," Kamenetz began. "You haven’t been to Towson unless you’ve had dinner at Troia’s. You don’t know Pikesville unless you’ve had lunch at Suburban House or dinner at Mari Luna. And you’ve never really seen what North County has to offer unless you’ve celebrated a special location at The Milton Inn or the Oregon Grille.”
The Friendly Farm Restaurant in Upperco, The Grill at Harryman House on Main Street and Mia Carolina in Glyndon are participating. In Owings Mills, Artful Gourmet Bistro, The Greene Turtle and Linwoods are also signed up.
Go to BaltimoreCountyRestaurantWeek.com to see all participating restaurants.
In 2011, county restaurants grossed $1.2 billion in sales, making it the second biggest "restaurant week" in the state, according to the Restaurant Association of Maryland.
"We have the most fabulous cafés, we have grills, we have pubs, we have fine-dining. We have everything here," said Christine Crawford, vice president of the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce.
Baltimore County Restaurant Week began three years ago, as a grassroots effort among 16 of the county's "top restaurants," according to founder Brian Boston, executive chef and owner of The Milton Inn in Sparks. A year later the county executive's office took an interest and became a partner in promoting an event.
"It's his endorsement that really makes it work," Boston said. "It's good for the customers, it helps us in slower times and it's a good thing for the county."
It has since grown to 36 restaurants with more expect to sign on next year.
"I think it brings out a lot of people to come out to restaurants that they may have never been to before because of the deal they're getting," said John Liberatore, owner of Liberatore's Ristorante. "It's definitely a boost. It definitely helps the economy and the restaurants."
There were five restaurants on display at the opening ceremony Wednesday morning. Scroll through the photographs to see if you can guess where the delectable dishes were from.