MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The annual Restaurant Week kicks off across the Palmetto state on Thursday and will run through January 17. Restaurants in the Myrtle Beach and Florence areas are participating. The 11-day event full of deals and special menus is designed to celebrate local restaurants and encourage people to try more new eateries.
Thirteen restaurants in the Myrtle Beach area and three in the Florence area are participating. This designated week gives a big push to local restaurants during the slower off season.
Ducatis Pizzeria & Trattoria, near Grand Strand Medical Center, participated in Restaurant Week last year. Co-owners said they had a very good response. They wanted to offer a really good deal for locals as a "thank you" for their loyalty throughout the year. But the special menu also attracted new customers. They are hoping the same trend continues this year.
"Last year went very well," said Nicole Mullamphy, a server at Ducatis. "We got a lot of new people in, kind of trying to see what the deals were. And we've kept them over the year, which is good. Because they tried it out and were like, 'Oh this is a great deal,' and then they keep coming back. Because our food is so good, it's fresh, authentic, and everything is delicious."
The special menu at Ducatis this year will cost $30 for lunch and $40 for dinner. That covers enough food for two people. It starts with appetizers, but it doesn't end there.
"And then they get a choice of two entrees," said Mullamphy. "Anything on the menu. And then they get to share a dessert. Which is one of the four options: cheesecake, limoncello, fresh cannolis, and tiramisu, which is fresh and delicious."
The special menus range in price from $19 to $40. To make the deal even sweeter, you can win a $50 gift card by dining out at participating restaurants this week. Once you've finished your meal from the designated menu, the server will bring you the check and there will be a QR code with it. You scan that code with your smartphone and that will enter you in the drawing. You can enter as many times as you eat at participating restaurants over the next 11 days.
These restaurants must pay $350 to participate in Restaurant Week. Of that lump sum, $300 goes to pay for marketing and $50 goes towards that gift card. Click here to find a full list of participating restaurants and their menus and prices. From the homepage, click on the dropdown menu to select the city you are interested in. Restaurant week is put on by the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.
Co-owners at Ducatis say that they are seeing a slow progression of the Myrtle Beach area becoming more of a culinary destination. And they think that a big reason we're seeing more home-grown, unique restaurant options is because of the clientele. The co-owners say with more people migrating to the beach from the North and the Midwest, they're used to an authentic product and lots of options. So entrepreneurs are jumping into the market and setting up more new restaurants to fill the need.
Ducatis serves fresh, authentic Italian comfort food. The co-owners have 17 years of experience in the food industry. They said they picked the Grand Strand location because they saw a huge demand for authentic Italian food that is not extremely formal. So at the restaurant you'll find southern hospitality with homey Italian food influenced by New Jersey and New York. The co-owners say this is a place where you can bring the family for some pizza, make a quick stop on a lunch break, or enjoy a formal date night. The restaurant opened up about two years ago, and the co-owners have seen great success and loyal customers.
"We have really, really good food," said Mullamphy. "And usually really good food costs money. But if you get those coupons, it's really cheap. So you can come out here and for two people and spend not even thirty dollars and get a lot of food for what you get. And you get a lot of bread to start. And you get a salad. So you get all your main food groups in!"