Oregon Grille

Oregon Grille is participating in Baltimore County Restaurant Week. (Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun / May 7, 2008)

Welcome to August, National Dining Promotion Month.

Or so it seems. Baltimore City is finishing up its Summer Restaurant Week on Sunday, and Carroll County will launch its first-ever dining week on Aug. 26.

But next up is Baltimore County Restaurant Week, which begins Friday, with three dozen restaurants offering fixed-price dinner and lunch menus.

Depending on how you look at it, this is either the county's first or second summer restaurant week. A fledgling effort in 2010 was produced by Brian Boston, the chef/owner at the Milton Inn, without official county support or endorsement.

This edition, like the winter promotion this past January, is being produced by Baltimore County Tourism & Promotion in partnership with the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce and the Jessup-based Sysco Baltimore, a marketer of food-service items. Participating restaurants are allowed to set their menus at $10.11, $15.11, $20.11, $25.11, $30.11 or $35.11, a staggered pricing format that allows more diverse participation

The success of the winter promotion appears to have secured another full lineup for the summer promotion. Angela Heffner, the director of Baltimore County Promotion & Tourism, says that the winter promotion "resulted in an 11 percent increase in restaurant tax receipts from the previous January," bringing in new and returning patrons. "Participating restaurants estimated that one in four diners were new customers," Heffner said.

If higher-end restaurants like Linwoods and the Oregon Grille mind being lumped in with pizza joints and delicatessens, they're keeping quiet about it. As long as restaurant week promotions put customers in seats, they're not in any danger of going anywhere. But notably absent again from the countywide promotion are Catonsville Gourmet and its sister restaurant, Regions.

For a complete list of restaurants participating in Baltimore County Restaurant Week and their menus, go to baltimorecountyrestaurantweek.com

More on Baltimore County Last week, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced the formation of a task force to examine changes to Baltimore County's liquor license laws. Whatever changes emerge from the initiative would apply only to laws governing restaurants and not to bars and package-good stores.

The task force will be co-chaired by Mike Mohler of the county's liquor board and Dan Gundersen, the county's executive director of economic development. It boils down to a development issue, Gundersen says. "We have heard from the development community regionally and nationally that the county could support a lot more destinations and a bigger variety of them" with more flexible licensing. "That's how a community grows," Gundersen says, "when it can adapt to change."

Partly at issue is the population-based distribution of licenses throughout the county, which the task force may determine is, in its present form, an obstacle to more aggressive development efforts. The task force meetings will be open to the public. The first one is scheduled for Aug. 18 in the Old Courthouse in Towson.

Elk, anyone? The Corner BYOB is running a preview of sorts for the exotic meats club dinners that they will formally debut this fall. During Wednesday through Sunday dinner service in August, guests can sample five different meats on one brochette.

The combination could be duck, antelope, elk, ostrich, bison, goose, beef rib eye or even kangaroo. The combinations will change each night. Be sure to mention "carnivore's delights" when making your reservations.

For more information about the Corner BYOB exotic meats club, email the restaurant at meetme@cornerbyob.com

richard.gorelick@baltsun.com

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