East Passyunk to host seventh annual Restaurant Week

This year’s event will feature $15, $25 and $35 menus at 26 restaurants along the avenue.

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A specialty of Le Virtù – one of the 26 restaurants participating in the East Passyunk Restaurant Week. (Photo courtesy of East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District.)

Foodies can soon dabble in a smorgasbord of flavors from around the world without even leaving South Philly.

In its seventh annual event, the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District is once again hosting its very own Restaurant Week from Feb. 25 to March 8.

From Italian institutions such as Marra’s to contemporary Asian spots like Izumi, more than two dozen restaurants along the avenue will offer new specialized lunch and dinner delights featuring never-before-eaten dishes throughout the 12-day event.

With menus set at three price points, including $15, $25 and $35, restaurant aficionados can delve into full-course meals for affordable costs.

“It’s a great chance to let people know your longstanding go-to favorite is having these special menus for this time period,” said Adam Leiter, executive director of East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District. “But, maybe it’ll pique some interest to try a new place or dish.”

Although neighborhood organizations across Philadelphia host their own restaurant weeks throughout the year, including the Center City District event in January and the Manayunk Spring Restaurant Week, South Philly undoubtedly deserves its own weeklong celebration of cuisine.

Recognizing diverse and delicious offerings of the area, the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District established its very own Restaurant Week in an effort to draw patrons to the community even beyond the annual festivity.

“I  think people really, really enjoy themselves,” Leiter said.  “And our ultimate hope is that if someone is coming for the first time, it’ll give them a great reason to come back at another point in the year.”

A specialty of Marra’s – one of the 26 restaurants participating in the East Passyunk Restaurant Week. (Photo courtesy of East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District.

While dinner menus are the main draw, Leiter says lunch menus, which are available at a few eateries such as Noir, POPE, Pistola’s del Sur, P’unk Burger, Stogie Joe’s and Plenty, are tailored to accommodate as many folks as possible, as, perhaps, a babysitter can’t be nailed down for date night.

This year’s event has a few new elements, such as new retail specials from neighboring shops throughout the week. For the first time, the discounts will mirror the restaurants’ $15, $25 and $35 price points.

The participating stores, which will be hosting their own offerings such as extended open hours or free lattes from Feb. 25 to March 8, include A Novel Idea, Baum’s Dancewear, Black & Brew, Carolyn Verdi Boutique, Essen Bakery, Miss Demeanor, N.R.S. Boutique, Occasionette, Sermania Jewelry, South Fellini, The Bottle Shop, Vanilya Bakery, HeadHunters Hair Design, South Philadelphia Community Acupuncture, Sweat Fitness  and Wake Up Yoga.

“It’s just a way that we want to have that cross-collaboration where people are coming in either taking a look around the avenue before their reservation or just get a chance to really see how there’s so much that’s happening on the avenue that’s above and beyond the food,” Leiter said.

Also new this year, a few favorite restaurants, such as Barcelona and Bing Bing Dim Sum, have shifted from the $35 to the $25 price points. The Palace of India, which opened up recently, will be joining in the mix this year, too.

Throughout the week, Lyft will be offering 25 percent off rides to and from East Passyunk Avenue during the course of Restaurant Week.

As far as snagging reservations to these popular places?

Leiter shares a few tips, including checking out openings on Open Table, calling the restaurant directly in advance and tracking the restaurants through social media, as last-minute table openings are sometimes announced on their Facebooks, Twitters and Instagrams. East Passyunk Avenue’s own social media accounts will blast these announcements.

“I think that we have so many great places to showcase for such a variety of tastes and being able to share that with people, being able to hopefully draw in both longstanding neighbors who know the avenue as well as people who are coming in from outside of the city, but to share this with their friends and family,” Leiter said. “…We want people to really come and be part of the avenue with us, and I think one of the best ways to share something is over a meal.”

To learn more details on the East Passyunk Restaurant Week, visit: www.eastpassyunkrestaurantweek.com.

gmaiorano@newspapermediagroup.com 

Twitter: @gracemaiorano