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September 21, 2018

How to do Center City Restaurant Week 2018 like a pro

We get insider tips on where to go and what to order

Restaurant Week
Teddy Sourias Kory Aversa/for PhillyVoice

Teddy Sourias inside Tradesman's, the latest addition to his small empire of bars and restaurants in Center City.

Center City District (CCD) Restaurant Week returns this Sunday, Sept. 23 to Friday, Oct. 5, featuring more than 100 participating restaurants that are offering three-course, prix-fixe meals at at a discount. With so many options, figuring out where to go and what to order can be overwhelming. We chatted with a few CCD Restaurant Week insiders to get tips on how to navigate CCD Restaurant Week like a pro, and even got some restaurant recommendations.

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Make a night out of it

Philly restaurateur Teddy Sourias advocates multiple stops in your itinerary for the night. 

“Center City Restaurant Week isn't just getting out on the town for a nice dinner at a great price — it’s getting out and having the complete experience. Pick a bar that has a great cocktail list, or hit a cocktail bar near the restaurant of your choice,” he says. 

“After dinner, experience one of the city's new clubs or head to one of your all-time favorites. Use it as an excuse to get out for the night and live it up.”

Sourias, who owns a number of restaurants participating in CCD Restaurant Week, recommends trying Indeblue (205 S. 13th St.). 

“I love the interior and the bar scene,” he says. 

“They also have restaurant week for brunch, lunch and dinner this time. Every meal I have ever had there has been top notch, and the options let you get creative.”

Chef Mackenson HoerebeCourtesy of Mackenson Hoerebe/for PhillyVoice

Chef Mackenson Hoerebe runs the kitchen at Square 1682.

Don’t limit yourself to one restaurant

Chef Mackenson Hoerebe of Square 1682 has been attending CCD Restaurant Week for the past 12 years. His biggest piece of advice? Go to more than one restaurant. 

“The best part about Restaurant Week is that it’s not a week — it’s nearly two weeks. So, my advice is to explore as many restaurants as you can. I always try to make it to two or three, and with the affordable pricing, it won’t break the bank,” he says.

This year, Hoerebe is especially looking forward to dining at Buddakan (325 Chestnut St.) and trying their barbecue pork tenderloin.

The PalmProvided /for PhillyVoice

The newly renovated Palm inside The Bellevue.

Dig into something new

Michelle Shannon, VP of Marketing and Communications for Center City District, has been behind the scenes at restaurant week since the event began.

“We know this annual event and campaign is making money for our participants, and it provides a great value and special experience for the diners,” she says. 

“It is a proven way to introduce patrons to new restaurants, and get the city energized for the return of fall dining season.”

Shannon’s advice for navigating Restaurant Week like a pro is to get out of your comfort zone.

“Be open to new experiences and cuisine, and take advantage of trying out restaurants you haven't been to before,” she says. 

“This is your chance to fall in love with your new favorite restaurant.”

While Shannon doesn’t play favorites, she’s looking forward to trying new CCD Restaurant Week participants this year like Chez Ben Bistro (400 Chestnut St.), Porta (1216 Chestnut St.), Casta Diva (227 S. 20th St.) and the newly renovated Palm (200 S. Broad St.).

Kory AversaAl B For/for PhillyVoice

Kory Aversa (left) with Gina Gannon (center) and Brandon Szeker (right).

Start a life-long tradition

Philly PR guru Kory Aversa reps a ton of restaurants participating in restaurant week, but despite his hectic schedule, he still finds time to enjoy it as a patron.

“Years ago, when I first arrived in Philly, it was a tradition with my friends and I did the big group thing. Now, I use it as an opportunity to catch up with friends I haven't seen in a while. It’s a Philadelphia tradition and one of the reasons I love this city.”

Aversa suggests that CCD Restaurant Week newbies making it a life-long tradition, as well.

“Whether it’s a big group with your co-workers, or intimate dinners with your closest friends, or a date night with your special someone, make it an annual tradition that you can grow and look forward to every year.”

Aversa’s picks for this year include Bistrot La Minette (623 S. 6th St.) in Queen Village.

“Every time I step inside, I feel transported to another part of the world,” he says. 

“The service is always four star and the dessert options are perfect for a sweet tooth like me! I don't know what I am picking for an entree this year, but for dessert, sign me up for the pot de crème with sea salt, cat’s tongue cookies and crème Chantilly.”

For more information on CCD Restaurant Week 2018, click here