PORTSMOUTH — Hotel owners on the Seacoast are welcoming Restaurant Week patrons with discounted rates and they say some people are signing up to stay overnight just so they can prolong the eating experience.
Restaurant Week Portsmouth & The Seacoast kicked off Thursday and more than 75,000 people are expected to turn out for the event, which lasts until Nov. 17.
Jay and Amanda McSharry own The Sailmaker’s House in Portsmouth and Water Street Inn in Kittery, Maine. As a restaurateur, Jay McSharry has ownership of Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Café, The Franklin, Moxy, Dos Amigos, Vida Cantina, The Red Door and other businesses on the Seacoast.
The couple is offering 15 percent off for people who stay at one of their hotels during Restaurant Week.
“I know a lot of people travel for restaurant week, but even for locals it’s a nice staycation,” Amanda McSharry said.
McSharry said they have sent out email blasts about Restaurant Week and have brochures for guest rooms.
Jonathan Silva, regional manager for Lark Hotels, said at Hotel Portsmouth and Ale House Inn in Portsmouth they are also offering 15 percent off for Restaurant Week patrons.
Staff members like to recommend their favorite dining spots to guests and introduce the biannual event to people who don’t know about it when they get into the city.
“It’s something that’s so fun to share about because I can’t think of anything like it,” Silva said.
Port Inn Portsmouth is also offering 10 percent off their overnight rates for Restaurant Week guests.
Valerie Rochon, president of the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth, said most people who travel for Restaurant Week come for more than the food.
“People come to Portsmouth because of the vibe. It’s not just the food. It’s the streetlamps. It’s the brick sidewalks. It’s the entire experience,” Rochon said.
Rochon estimates that over the months of November and April, when Restaurant Week Portsmouth & The Seacoast takes place, it creates a combined $57 million economic impact.
Rochon said that with $1.054 billion in meals revenue last year, Rockingham County leads the state in providing meal taxes. There are more seats in restaurants than residents in the city of Portsmouth.
For a list of participating Restaurant Week establishments and to see their lunch and dinner menus, visit www.goportsmouthnh.com/where-to-eat/restaurant-week.