This year, there will be no summer restaurant week dedicated to Bethesda. There wasn’t a restaurant week in January either, which had become the traditional time for a winter restaurant week promotion featuring 25-30 local eateries.
Jeff Heinenman, chef and owner of Grapeseed and Freddy’s Lobster & Clams, said there were no official area restaurant weeks this year because there just hasn’t been a sufficient lead organizer.
The Washington Post ran the events up to a few years ago. Last year, the Restaurant Association of Maryland took it over, with sponsorships from Bethesda Magazine and help from longtime supporters such as the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, Bethesda Urban Partnership and NIH.
Hillary Yeh, marketing coordinator with the Restaurant Association of Maryland, said the Association would not be running the event anymore. Heinenman said the statewide Association didn’t want to run an event with such a local focus.
“I’m not sure who will take on the management of this effort for Bethesda in the future,” wrote B-CC Chamber President Ginanne Italiano in an email. “It’s very time consuming, staff-intensive and can be pretty expensive as far as advertising rates go, which local restaurants have to take into consideration.”
During last summer’s restaurant week, restaurants offered a two-course lunch for $12 or $16 and, or a three-course dinner for $33.
“There’s nothing happening because there’s no one to run it,” said Heinenman, whose Grapeseed was a lead sponsor of last year’s event. “The Post was big enough to use some of their leverage for marketing.”
Heinenman said some Bethesda restaurants have got into D.C.’s restaurant week. Federal Realty runs a regular restaurant week for its restaurant tenants at Bethesda Row.
Flickr pool photo by AmyMarieMoore