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For the past few years, during a week in January and a week in August, restaurants in the Pittsburgh area team up for what is known as “Pittsburgh Restaurant Week.” It’s a chance for chefs and restaurants to showcase their menu during traditionally slow times of the year. Restaurants will even create special menus for Restaurant Week that are posted to its website – www.pittsburghrestaurantweek.com. It’s a fantastic opportunity to try a new restaurant you’ve never been to before. This year, dinner specials ranged anywhere from $28.19 to $35.19 (because it’s 2019 after all) for a three course tasting menu which includes an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert at most places.
This leads me to my question: why doesn’t Beaver County have a restaurant week? It’s not like we have an abundance of independently owned, solid eateries here. However, we have enough that a collaboration among business owners would allow for something like this to take place. Beaver County’s restaurant scene needs a shot in the arm. We need innovative minds who want to share their passion for food with people who can and will appreciate it.
2018 was not a good year for the restaurant scene in the County. Three restaurants I really liked – Radici in Monaca, Heirloom in Beaver, and the Fairport in Rochester – closed their doors. Their owners tried their best to make it work but for whatever reason, just couldn’t stay open for more than a couple years. It’s sad to see because a quality restaurant scene adds to the quality of life and the vibrancy of a community. I felt sorry to see quality guys like Rich Montini, the owner/chef at Heirloom, and Ernie Mancing, the owner/chef at Radici close up shop. Montini has since taken his talents to a restaurant in Pittsburgh. On the other hand, I was encouraged to see El Paso opening where Humphrey’s (I still call it that) and Bocktown used to be at the Beaver Valley Mall. El Paso isn’t going to knock your socks off – it’s quality Mexican food at an affordable price – but for the sole fact that another restaurant is moving into a vacant space that also happens to be prime real estate. It’s a step in the right direction. Would I have preferred to see Primanti’s (the rumored restaurant) or a Buffalo Wild Wings to move into that space? Absolutely.
A Beaver County restaurant week could certainly include the who’s who among restaurants in our county seat, Beaver, but what about in other areas of the county? Do people from Beaver Falls or Chippewa make their way to support businesses in Hopewell or Ambridge and vice versa? Restaurant Week in Beaver County would be a success if marketed properly. Social media is powerful in this day and age, and I see a lot of restaurants using it to promote their menu. Two of the best at this are Andy Selby at Bowser’s and Jason Benegassi who runs Biba. They’re constantly showcasing their kitchen creations on Instagram and Facebook.
I am calling on the restaurant owners and the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce to promote collaboration among restaurants. Create a menu with an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert for a fixed price. Here are my top 20 restaurants (that have dinner service) I’d like to see take part in a Restaurant Week in alphabetical order:
Back Door Tavern
Mario’s Woodfired Pizza
Oak Arbor Grille
The Palms Brazilian Steakhouse
Plated and Poured