The Robin’s Nest restaurant has struggled under the weight of closures due to the pandemic. A three-month spring closure to help stop the spread of COVID took a toll on businesses in Mount Holly, but then Burlington County Restaurant Week kicked off in the summer.

Although it was only for a week, Robin’s Nest took part and attracted many more customers, some of whom came for the first time to take advantage of the special prices.

Now, sisters Robyn Winzinger, executive chef, and Audrey Winzinger, marketing manager, are excited about the initiative, designed to highlight and promote the county’s diverse food scene, expanding to a biannual program.

The Burlington County Commission and state Sen. Troy Singleton, R-Burlington, co-sponsors of the Restaurant Week program, recently announced that they will host upcoming late winter and late summer restaurant weeks. This year’s dates are March 5-11 and August 20-26.

To date, 21 restaurants have signed up for the March event, according to the county’s website.

Robin Winzinger prepares a chicken and spinach salad at her Robin's Nest restaurant in Mount Holly.  She buys fresh greens and vegetables in season from Burlington County Farms in South Jersey.

“Things are really picking up this week and we have high hopes for this year again,” said Audrey Winsinger.

Cucina Carini manager Anthony Keane said not only has the family-run Italian restaurant in Mount Laurel been busy during recent restaurant weeks, but he’s also seen regular customers who visited for the first time during the program.

“I don’t know all their names, but we see them,” he said, adding that he welcomes the county’s decision to extend the program to two weeks and help promote the events.

A menu favorite at Cucina Carini in Mount Laurel is the Trio Di Mare, a three-seafood dish of shrimp, sea scallops and crab scallops sauteed with plum tomatoes in a white wine basil sauce.  In early March and late August 2023, the Italian restaurant is offering specials for an expanded Burlington County Restaurant Week.

Last year, Braddock’s Tavern manager Peter Dickinson decided to keep the prix fixe and other specials on the menu for an extra week after program week to give people more opportunities to discover his restaurant, and has offered different specials each year to keep patrons interested. .

Burlington County advertising posters for the first of two Restaurant Weeks in 2023 this year with the first set March 6-11

And restaurant weeks will not only cover restaurants and eateries. Also participating are coffee shops such as Evermore Coffee Roasters in Burlington City; pizza and sandwich shops like Angelo’s Pizza in Mount Laurel; wineries such as Iron Plow Vineyard in Springfield and its tasting room in Mount Holly; bagel shops like Bagelati in Evesham and Cinnaminson, as well as bakeries and even food trucks.

Richard Spaulding of Burlington City, who has experience managing restaurant development in various areas of New Jersey and is currently president of the Main Street Burlington business organization, said the county has many good restaurants. Some are in the heart of cities like Medford and Medford Lakes or along the banks of the Delaware River like Burlington City and Bordentown, but others are spread out and sometimes much farther to get to because of the size of the county.

Left to right, Braddock's Tavern manager Peter Dickinson and chef Benjamin Fowler pose for a photo outside the restaurant and bar, which will once again be participating in the first of two Burlington County Restaurant Weeks this year, beginning March 5.

“But we’re not Haddonfield or Collingswood or Cherry Hill, which are right next to each other and in a more populated area with a lot of restaurants,” Spaulding said.

Burlington County Commission Director Felicia Hopson said the addition of a second week follows the event’s rapid growth and success over the past four years.

“Last year’s Restaurant Week featured a record 75 restaurants β€” about as many as Downtown Philadelphia Restaurant Week β€” making it one of our largest business events,” she noted.

It was Hopson who spearheaded the creation of the first County Restaurant Week in 2019 to help promote and support Burlington County restaurants and their employees. The program continued during the pandemic as takeout became more popular.

Berkshire Pork Chop with Apple Bacon Salsa and Quoxein Farms Cranberry Stilton is the first dish at Braddock's Tavern in Medford.

β€œThe feedback we have received has been incredible and we encourage our residents to mark their calendars and plan for a double dose of food and fun this year,” she said.

more:Here’s when Marblehead Chowder House plans to open in Westhampton

For a complete list of participating restaurants, visit the Restaurant Week section of the county’s website at https://www.co.burlington.nj.us/1844/Winter-Restaurant-Week-2023.

Carol Comegno enjoys telling stories about South Jersey life, history and military veterans for the Courier Post, Burlington County Times and The Daily Journal. If you have a story to share, please call her at 856-486-2473 or email ccomegno@gannettnj.com.

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