Somers Point Restaurant Week is back for its third year with a goal of relieving cabin fever and filling stomachs.
At least that is what Project Coordinator for the Somers Point Business Association, Nick Regine, hopes for the extended week of affordable dining, which began Friday and ends Nov. 11.
"We had 700 people (come out) last year. We hope to have that many this year, but the dynamic has changed," a worried Regine said in regards to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Although the area received a considerable beating from the storm, all thirteen restaurants are still scheduled to participate. And if opening night was any indication, Regine has nothing to worry about.
As the local eateries began opening their doors, the air turned brisk. Storm damage was present, but not discouraging, and parking lots were full.
Customers walking into Latz's by the Bay on 801 Bay Ave. wouldn't know that water was up to the restaurant's flower beds just a few days prior.
Owner Andrew Latz figured people would want to get out, and he was right, as he and wife, Adrienne, welcomed walk-ins and reservations at the door.
"Last year was our first year," the owner said. "It was a great week for us. We made new friends and were able to showcase our restaurant to many people that wouldn't have come here otherwise," he said about his year-old restaurant.
Donovan and Marlaine Saunders, of Somers Point, were happy to dine out that night after losing power for a few days.
The two shared that they weren't going to miss out on the menu options, which included a choice of grilled flatbread and trio spread or fried calamari; a spinach arugula salad or butternut apple bisque soup; a ribeye steak, braised monkfish or grilled chicken and a homemade chocolate bread pudding for dessert.
"We are trying to hit Philippe's, too," Marlaine said of the participating French-Asian bistro across Bay Avenue.
Down the street at Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro, regulars Bill and Kim Hancock, of Linwood, enjoyed martinis at the bar. The couple, who also lost power for several days, raved about the roasted butternut squash soup and dug into Vietnamese vegetable spring rolls and edamame.
Owner Dan Anderson was lucky enough to lose only a bit of glass from his neon lobster sign.
His restaurant planned to host a restaurant week kickoff Oct. 28, featuring a bartenders' competition, cooking demonstration, dessert tasting, a light buffet and an exhibit by art students from Mainland Regional High School. Due to the impending storm, the event was cancelled.
Anderson does hope that people will come and continue to use his restaurant as a refuge, similar to days after the June 30 storm.
"One thing I have noticed in Somers Point … is that it's a storm town. People just want to get out and fight it (and) brave the elements," he said of people venturing into his spot. This is the third year that his restaurant is participating.
"That's the true meaning of a restaurant. It's a gathering place for people to exchange ideas. I am looking forward to this, and pulling people together."
Contact Caitlin Honan:
If you go
Three-Course dinner (appetizer, entree, dessert), $25.07
Two-Course lunch (entree and chef's choice of soup, salad or dessert; some restaurants offer three-course lunch), $11.07
Charlie's Bar and Restaurant, The Windjammer, The Crab Trap, Doc's Place, Fitzpatrick's Deli and Steakhouse, Gregory's Restaurant and Bar, Greate Bay Country Club, Joe's Mediterranean Grill, Emilio's, Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro, Latz's by the Bay, Philippe Chin's French-Asian Bistro.