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Setting the table for East Passyunk Restaurant Week

26 avenue restaurants have signed on for this sixth annual event

Guests can look forward to a variety of tapas items on the Barcelona Wine Bar menu during East Passyunk Restaurant Week, which begins on Monday.

By Bill Gelman

The word about East Passyunk Restaurant Week typically starts spreading in January, right after the Center City version wraps. The buzz was slightly delayed this year as a result of the Philadelphia Eagles winning Super Bowl LII. Now that the celebration, Valentine’s Day and President’s Weekend have all passed, it’s time to start talking about food, more specifically where to eat during the sixth annual East Passyunk Restaurant Week. It starts on Monday, Feb. 26, and runs through Friday, March 9. There are 26 restaurants participating — four of which are first-timers. Participating restaurants are rolling out three-course menus for $15, $25 or $35 per person, not including tax and gratuity.

Pam Zenzola, executive director of the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District, has been busy uploading the menus to the East Passyunk Restaurant Week website and getting the word out. It has included getting 2017 newcomers Barcelona Wine Bar, 1709 E. Passyunk Ave., and Pistola’s Del Sur, 1934 E. Passyunk Ave., both opened in 2017. Chef Nicholas Elmi, a former “Top Chef” winner, is rolling out EPRW special menus at ITV, 1615 E. Passyunk Ave., for the first time. Chhaya Cafe, 1819 E. Passyunk Ave, chef/owner V. Beuria is the other first-time participant. Zenzola said it wasn’t hard getting restaurants, including new ones, on board.

“It wasn’t hard at all,” she said. “We are like a big family down here.”

“How can I be involved?” and “What can I do?” are common responses.

Restaurants along what many consider South Philly’s foodie row have earned national acclaim, including being named one of the “Top 10 Foodie Streets in America” by Food and Wine Magazine.

With a wide range of options that include Italian, Mexican, Spanish tapas, Northern European, French and others, deciding where to go is not such an easy decision. The user-friendly EPRW website (eastpassyunkrestaurantweek.com) provides links to each of the participating establishments, what the special menu choices are and what nights it will be available.

Noir, 1909 E. Passyunk Ave., Pub on Passyunk East, 1501 E. Passyunk Ave., Stogie Joe’s, 1801 E. Passyunk Ave., and Pistola’s are each offering separate lunch and dinner menus.

This is the second year in which EPRW has been extended over 12 days after running as a weeklong event the first four years.

“We have quarterly restaurant meetings,” Zenzola said. “Quite a few of them said [last year] let’s go up to 12 days. It has been successful”

Other businesses along East Passyunk, including Manatawny Still Works, 1603 E. Passyunk Ave., help the team as an event sponsor.

Rolling out the special menus on nights that may typically be slower, those nights suddenly are not. February and March also tend to be colder months in which residents may prefer eating at home. Zenzola said the Tuesday/Wednesday crowd over the next two weeks may be more like a Friday or Saturday night. Some people will look at one of the menus and say “I have to try that” while others will decide this is the perfect time to try a place for the first time.

Reservations may be required at many of the participating restaurants. Visit eastpassyunkrestaurantweek.com.

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