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Pouring drinks to kick off last year’s Restaurant Week. Photo by Rick Dumont Images.




Restaurant Week Portsmouth & The Seacoast

When: Thursday, March 31, to Saturday, April 9
Visit: restaurantweekportsmouth.com




Spring into dining
Restaurant Week returns to the Seacoast

03/31/16
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



 Twice a year, Seacoast area restaurants open their doors for Restaurant Week, offering locals and visitors the chance to get out and enjoy specially curated menus. This season, the bi-annual event held each April and November finally reached its goal of featuring 50 restaurants.

“We have 51 restaurants involved. We’ve never hit that 50-restaurant mark,” Amanda Beaulieu, Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce event coordinator, said in a phone interview. 
Beaulieu said this season’s record-breaking participation is the result of newly opened eateries joining the mix, as well as some that are only open during the warmer season and some that have been around but never taken part.
“I think they [restaurants] have seen how much it has grown over the last couple years and [it] has become an event,” she said. “Not only is there really good turnout for restaurants, but people [are] coming to town staying in hotels and shopping and making a weekend of it.” 
The largest demographic heading to the coast for Restaurant Week is from New Hampshire, though folks from Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut make up a good portion of people trying out restaurants during the shoulder seasons as well.
“We always have Restaurant Week when people typically aren’t out and about, so November as well as April,” Beaulieu said. “We want to entice people by getting out and boosting the economy for our tourism and local retailers. … Spring has a different flair to it because [of] the warmer weather … getting excited for summer. I think that helps to bring a big turnout. People want to be outside and walking around town.”
One thing that makes Restaurant Week unique for diners is the chance to sample from special menus as each participating restaurant will serve either a prix fixe lunch menu for $16.95, a prix fixe dinner menu for $29.95 or both. 
“We really want the chefs to put their own spin on it,” Beaulieu said. “[Some] restaurants say they are trying a whole new recipe for Restaurant Week because it’s a time you can play around with ideas you’ve been thinking of and you get a really good audience. People are coming because they want to see something new and exciting.”
While many of the participating restaurants are in Portsmouth, there are plenty in the surrounding towns such as The 401 Tavern in Hampton, Applecrest Farm Bistro in Hampton Falls, Carriage House Restaurant in Rye, CR’s The Restaurant in Hampton, Epoch Restaurant & Bar in Exeter, Orchard Street Chop Shop in Dover and Salt Kitchen & Bar in New Castle.
Recently the Chamber has been focusing on incorporating more restaurants outside of Portsmouth to be part of Restaurant Week.
“We have members through the Seacoast, so in Hampton, Exeter, Dover, Durham…,” she said. “It is Portsmouth-heavy because there are a lot of restaurants, but we really like to pull in our members not in the Portsmouth downtown area.” 





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