Chefs Cook Up Special Menu for Maine Restaurant Week 

Local restaurants are prepping special menus this week.

“Restaurant week is usually the first week of March and its for many restaurants sort of a down time, a slower season,” says Santiago Rave, one owner of Thistles in Bangor.  “Give a little push to that dreary weather and slow season.”

For a lot of restaurants that push comes with some fresh options.

“These are the Argentine beef empanadas, Latin grilled pork chops.  The possible dessert you could have is our Puerto Rican tembleque.  One of the big things for us is just trying out our new dishes with new customers, really hearing feedback about what they like, what they don’t like.”

Restaurant Week menus will typically have options for three courses at a fixed price, ranging from $15 to $45.

“We have great salmon cake as an appetizer, artisan bruschetta.  For entrees, we’re featuring a sirloin steak,” says Jason Spivey, Director of Sales and Events at The Lucerne Inn in Dedham.

“We’re most excited for Restaurant Week to bring our regulars and new faces to try our food and to try our menu.  Just to get in here and experience all we have to offer.”

All restaurants do it a little differently.

“We got a reasonable response last year when we did the ethnic influence on our menu,” explains David Robichaud, owner of Cappy’s Chowder House and in Camden.  “It created a lot of buzz.  It did very well last year so we anticipate this year that we’ll have an influx also of customers more so than we would.  So that’s our emphasis on Restaurant Week.  People get a little bit of exposure as to what some of the ethnic dishes in Maine are.

This is the sixth year for Maine Restaurant Week.  The event is becoming more popular, especially in the mid-coast area.

“Mostly the emphasis tends to be in the Portland area because that’s where the concentration of restaurants is,” Robichaud continues.  “So it’s been nice this year that they’re trying to create a little more interest in the mid-coast so that we also benefit from the advertising that Maine Restaurant Association does to promote Restaurant Week.

The complete list of participating Maine restaurants can be found at  The week runs March 1 – 10.