By Tara Fischer, Staff Writer
(Jan. 11, 2024) As the holidays end and winter sets in, Berlin establishments have created special menus for their Restaurant Week.
Approximately 15 eateries are participating this year, including The Globe, On What Grounds, Rayne’s Reef Soda Fountain and Grill, Blacksmith, The Sterling Tavern, 410 Social, and The Atlantic Hotel Bistro Bar.
According to Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells, Cam Bunting of Bunting Realty approached the town five years ago with the idea of sponsoring a week where restaurants cater their special dishes to locals. It also encourages guests to dine at their favorite spots, often crowded during the summer and holidays and try new places at a discounted price.
“A lot of unique restaurants have opened. January, typically a slow month, is a perfect time for locals to try them,” Wells said. “The establishments are 100 percent in. They are excited to figure out what will be on their menus. It keeps getting bigger and better every year.”
A contest to win a $400 gift card to be used at any participating Berlin restaurant and $100 cash donated by Bunting is organized to incentivize diners. Patrons must eat at three places and stamp their cards to enter.
For locals looking for a morning or an afternoon pick-me-up deal, On What Grounds offers a breakfast sandwich and any beverage of any size for $7.99 or $2 off any upgraded drink. These include specialty coffees, like the winter spice and Aztec mocha lattes.
The Globe has lunch and dinner options. Afternoon diners will be welcomed with $10 specials, and those who wish to wait until the evening can expect to pay $30 for three courses.
A soup or salad will start the meal, followed by either prime rib, a crabcake, or an Indian dish, and finished with a sweet treat by Baked Desserts Café.
“We’re looking forward to it. Hopefully, a lot of people come out,” owner Jon Lane said.
Similarly, Blacksmith has two menus. Their two courses for the $22 lunch special starts with butternut squash bisque with balsamic, tomato and artichoke soup with lemon, shrimp bisque with sherry, or a Caesar salad with house croutons.
To follow, patrons can choose the crispy rockfish with hand-cut chips, a jumbo lump or vegan crabcake sandwich on local brioche, a shrimp po’ boy on a local baguette, or the crispy chicken sandwich on local brioche. They will also offer three dinner courses for $33. Some dishes include shrimp goat cheese wontons, and crispy pork belly bao buns.
410 Social is excited to participate in its second Restaurant Week. To celebrate, the menu includes two courses for $22. Customers will choose scampi crostini or burrata, a 410-style- smashed burger, a tuna express wrap, or blackened tacos.
“We wanted to have some lighter options because we plan to switch to heavier winter menu items in the coming weeks,” 410 Social owner Marcos Lopez said. “It’s also great because it gives guests the chance to try something they might be apprehensive about.”
Restaurant Week takes place from Jan. 12 through Jan. 18. Additional menus can be found on the establishments’ Facebook pages and the Berlin Welcome Center window on 14th South Main Street, where guests vying for the gift card and cash prize can pick up and deliver their stamped cards. The drop box will be open twenty-four-seven.