Community comes together through Inman Park Restaurant Week

Inman Park showed that it’s diverse in more than just one way with the wide variety of food offered during Inman Park Restaurant Week. Fourteen restaurants came together during the last week of March to offer meals made for tantalizing the taste buds of the community for a discounted price.

There’s a good mix of ages and cultures. That range in the community is something that parallels with the variety of food offered as a part of Inman Park Restaurant Week, according to Herman Allenson, General Manager for Barcelona Restaurant and Wine Bar, one of the more recent participating restaurants that joined Inman Park Restaurant Week.

“The thing I think I love the most about Inman Park is that I feel like it’s such a diverse neighborhood,” he said. “You’ve got the people who have lived here for 30 or 40 years, you’ve got the young 20- and 30-somethings that have moved in, and there [are] a lot of transplants. I like that because you meet new people from different places, different cultures, [and] different backgrounds.”

And the restaurants cater to the cultural differences in Inman Park during restaurant week, with an array of food including Spanish, Asian-inspired, contemporary American, Creole and Southern.

One of the restaurants participating the event, The Albert, served up a varied menu featuring fresh takes on Southern classics. A hoecake (basically a cornbread-pancake hybrid) topped with ham-studded pimento cheese and red pepper jelly was a highlight, as was the creamy crawfish salad.

Barcelona, on the other hand, offered two different three-course deals for restaurant week, which included a savory cut of filet mignon, prawns for dessert, or a choice of desserts, salads, and tapas for the same price.
The Albert was on the lowest price tier of the event – a three-course meal was only $15. The prices go up in $10 increments until they reach $35, which includes fancier places like the brand-new Barcelona.

And although restaurant week was meant as a promotion tool to bring people out to get food at reduced prices, over the years it has managed to do more than just that.

“It’s a marketing plan,” said Randy Parks, General Manager of Wisteria Restaurant. “But there are a lot of new faces that come in because of restaurant week and a lot of different opportunities for people to try food that they haven’t had before.”

Allenson, a native of New York, also said that the restaurant week in Inman Park had a greater sense of community in terms of the customers and the restaurants that any other restaurant week that he had been a part of.

“Restaurant week was really big up in New York City, but there’s a lot bigger sense of community in Inman Park,” he said. “I think that there’s a bigger sense of ownership and pride and togetherness as far as the restaurants, at least I can speak to Inman Park for that.”

Inman Park Restaurant Week not only offered delicious dishes to the Inman Park community, but also opened their eyes, and mouths, to the different cultures that are all around them. These neighborhood joints recognized that to partake and compete in this festival of eats, they really had to step up the innovation, which is exactly what they’ve done.

Published April 3, 2012 in The Signal: “Community comes together through Inman Park Restaurant Week

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