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The 8th annual Restaurant Week is here

“Restaurant Week is an important event for East Passyunk because it’s a chance for the restaurants from an economic perspective to fill in what might be a slower period of time in the winter after Valentine’s Day and before spring hits,” said the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District’s executive director, Adam Leiter. “It also gives the chance to showcase some new places to come up.”

The interior of Bing Bing Dim Sum on Passyunk Avenue. | Photo provided by Adam Leiter.

East Passyunk is Philadelphia’s restaurant capital of the city – that’s no secret. But with so many restaurants on the avenue – 44, to be exact – it can be difficult to try each and every one. But the corridor’s annual Restaurant Week, which starts today and goes until March 6, makes it easier. During that period, 25 different restaurants on the corridor will have special Restaurant Week prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menus for residents to partake in. For restaurants in the neighborhood, it’s an opportunity to get business going in what is typically a slow part of the year.

“Restaurant Week is an important event for East Passyunk because it’s a chance for the restaurants from an economic perspective to fill in what might be a slower period of time in the winter after Valentine’s Day and before spring hits,” said the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District’s executive director, Adam Leiter. “It also gives the chance to showcase some new places to come up.”

The prix fixe menus will be at three different price points: $15, $25 and $35. According to Leiter, that’s new this year.

“You can find a spot that matches your budget,” he said. 

Ciro Lubrano, operating partner at La Scala’s Birra, said his restaurant uses Restaurant Week as an opportunity to tell the world that his restaurant is about more than just pizza.

“We’re known for having a top 10 pizza in the city,” said Lubrano, “but during Restaurant Week, we put a lot of homemade pasta and chicken and seafood on the menu.”

Marlo Dilks, co-owner of P’unk Burger, uses Restaurant Week to showcase some of the restaurant’s “funner burgers,” like the Greek Burger (beef, olive tapenade, roasted peppers, goat cheese) or the Vegan Southwest Beyond Burger (plant-based Beyond Meat, caramelized onions, poblano peppers, avocado, pico de gallo, vegan chipotle mayo).

“Normally, there’s only one special burger each month,” said Dilks. “At Restaurant Week, almost every burger on the menu is special.”

Dilks said that Restaurant Week is especially great for gaining new customers.

“About 75% of the customers are new,” she said.

She said that oftentimes customers tell her that her burger joint was on their radar, but for whatever reason, it fell off. Restaurant Week is what draws them back in. 

“It brings it back to the forefront of the brain,” she said. As evidenced by the Vegan Southwest Beyond Burger above, Dilks likes to brag that P’unk Burger has something for everyone – even vegans and vegetarians.

“I try to always offer a nice variety of options, including vegetarian and vegan options,” she said.

Despite the overwhelming number of food options along the corridor, both Dilks and Lubrano stipulate that there’s not much competition among the restaurants.

“I will be honest to you, there is literally no animosity between us,” said Lubrano, who noted that the corridor’s restaurant employees frequently dine at other restaurants in the area. “It’s a healthy competition between us but not a throat-cutting competition. We tend to work more with each other than not.”

Dilks agrees.

“I personally don’t feel animosity towards any other restaurant even though there are so many restaurants,” she said. “I feel I really offer something different than the rest of the avenue. I’m the only burger place in South Philadelphia. There really aren’t many places that are really dedicated to burgers in the city.”

For more information on Restaurant Week, visit easpassyunkrestaurantweek.com.

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