By Dan Majka
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — University City is home to some of the most innovative and diverse dining options in the region. From July 14 through July 24, diners have the opportunity to eat at some of its great restaurants for a significant discount.
"University City Dining Days is a promotion that we run that is similar to a Restaurant Week," says Chris Richman, with the University City District. "For ten days in University City, participating restaurants will offer three course meals for three different price points. You can either get meals for $15, $25 or $35, depending on what the normal menu looks like."
Richman says the initial goal of Dining Days was to drive business to the neighborhood restaurants during a typically slow summer season. Now, 12 years later, tens of thousands of diners from all across the region come to take advantage of the great deals.
"It's been a great success," he says. "It always drives lots of visitors to University City during the time when college students aren't here, so restaurants really love it because it brings additional business. Residents really love it because it gives them a chance to try a bunch of different restaurants at affordable prices."
And with more than 30 different restaurants taking part, there are dining options to accommodate everyone's taste.
"What sets University City's dining scene apart is just how international and eclectic it is. We have a wide range of types of cuisine," Richman says. "In University City you can find normal things, like Chinese, Italian and American pub fare, but this neighborhood also has a lot of Japanese, it has Korean, it has Mexico City, it has India, Ethiopia. You'll find some things in this area that you're not going to find anywhere else."
Richman says the culinary scene in University City offers a mix of family-owned restaurants and outposts for major local and national chefs and restaurateurs.
"There are big restaurants and little restaurants. We have celebrity chefs like Stephen Starr with his Pod participating," he says. "We have Distrito and JG Domestic from Jose Garces. We have neighborhood favorites like Dock Street Brewery, and there are smaller, new restaurants."
Six to be exact.
"Renata's Kitchen, HipCityVeg, Herban Quality Eats, Bobby Flay's Bobby's Burger Palace, the Japanese hand-drawn noodle spot Ochatto, and Indian restaurant Tandoor."
If you're looking for the complete sit down dining experience, you'll get it. But Richman says for those interested in some fast causal, Dining Days has that as well.
That's something we debuted last year and we're expanding a little bit," he says. "So, you can go in and get a $15 meal, for example, from HipCityVeg and try some vegan options, or farm-to-table sustainable meals from Herban Quality Eats."
So, if you're hoping to fill your stomach without emptying your wallet, University City Dining Days promises to hit the spot.
"It's a nice representation of what University City has to offer," Richman says. "Big restaurants, little restaurants, cozy BYOB's, celebrity chefs, we really have it all here."
For a complete list of participating restaurants, menus or to make a reservation, visit ucdiningdays.com.
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