BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — It may be the best two weeks in Baltimore County for foodies. Restaurant Week kicks off Friday!

As Gigi Barnett explains, it’s a challenge for chefs to create the dishes that keep customers coming back.

Ever tried bison with mashed potatoes? Or maybe a pulled pork slider topped with crispy onions? How about some homemade soup?

“Cream of crab soup was excellent. I had at least two whole crabs in my little tiny cup. It was fabulous,” said Ellen Hannibal, foodie.

It all sounds so good.

“I know one thing, people are checking their diets at the door,” said Don Mohler, Baltimore Co. Exec. Chief of Staff.

It’s a good thing because Baltimore County’s Restaurant Week begins this week.

“It’s not really a week. It’s a 17-day celebration,” Mohler said.

Baltimore County Chief of Staff Don Mohler says restaurants in the county generate more than $1 billion every year–only second behind Montgomery County.

It was only three years ago that the culinary event was created. And this year, a record number of restaurants are bringing their “A” game.

“We’re here to show out and make sure people keep coming back,” said Brian Harrison, executive chef at Barrett’s Grill in Hunt Valley.

He says Restaurant Week’s fixed, multi-course menus bring in first-time customers looking for a taste of something new.

“I have an apple wood smoked bacon and wild mushroom risotto with caramelized scallops. I’m just doing a smaller portion of that. But it’s hands down one of our top sellers,” Harrison said.

Restaurants say the next two weeks will boost their bottom line. As their customers go on vacation for the summer, Restaurant Week will bring them back to dine out again.

“It is a shot in the arm for our restaurant and keeps our employees cranking and working until the fall starts,” said Larry Wilhelm, Friendly Farms Restaurant.

Restaurant Week will hold everyone over.

For a complete list of all 52 restaurants participating, click here.

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