Try 24 restaurants in eight days? That's a challenge worth taking.
And that is exactly what diners will get during York's third annual Restaurant Week, which begins Saturday and ends March 2.
Restaurant Week gives local food lovers the opportunity to try specialty menus at a number of participating York City restaurants.
This is the first year Gavin Advertising has taken over marketing for the event, and Meagan Feeser, the director of public relations and advertising for Gavin, said the firm took a new approach to an event which had previously struggled to catch the eye of many.
"We saw the goal was to get people downtown who would not normally go downtown," she said. "It gives restaurants the opportunity to make a great first impression."
In 2012, Restaurant Week had only 12 participants. This year 24 restaurants will take part in the weeklong food fest. YorKitchen and the York School of Culinary Arts will also participate.
According to Feeser, "a lot of restaurants were able to see the value in participating" in this year's event, in comparison to previous years.
Price points will vary from $10 for restaurants offering a lunch menu to $20 to $30 for restaurants offering a prix-fixe dinner menu.
This year a new category was also added, Feeser said. The Nosh includes a number of smaller eateries, such as coffee and dessert shops, that wanted to participate in the event.
"It gave an opportunity to venues who wanted to do something special but weren't able to put together a full menu," she said.
Feeser said the event has a new energy this year, and much of that is due to the increased interaction among social media users. The event's Facebook page has more than 900 "likes." Users are being encouraged to keep the buzz going throughout Restaurant Week by posting photos to the Facebook page and Instagram using the hashtag #rwyork. Diners can also follow @RWYork on Twitter and include the #rwyork hashtag in their posts.
There has also been increased interest from sponsors, Feeser said. This year, businesses sponsoring Restaurant Week donated billboards and radio airtime to increase the event's exposure.
Restaurant staffs have also been spreading the word, wearing buttons that say "Ask me about Restaurant Week." Feeser said getting the staff involved and informed is key to getting diners to come downtown. She also said restaurants are being asked to keep track of their reservations and seatings throughout the week so her firm can evaluate this year's success.
Overall, people know Restaurant Week York is coming and they are getting excited for it, Feeser said.
"People who live here in York and want to see it succeed have really made an effort to make it happen."
--Kristen Putch can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.