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Mounted Ocean City police officers are striving to touch base with the public they serve in a new way: trading cards. Produced by Megan Raymond

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Dining out sometimes can be a dicey proposition, especially for those trying out new restaurants.

People often are nervous about trying new things, especially when it comes to food. The idea behind restaurant weeks in general was to start and chip away at this notion.

Places set a menu and a price that is well below what one might normally expect to spend in anticipation of demonstrating their talents to a new audience of diners. It’s something Ocean City has been embracing for a decade.

More than embracing it, really, as Ocean City Restaurant Week runs through Sunday, Nov. 19. Participating restaurants offer fixed price meals from $15-40 per person.

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In a resort town, convincing people to come out to dine during the offseason months can be a bit of a challenge, but all of the better restaurants are open year-round. This isn’t an accident.

Independent restaurants that can draw diners in the offseason do so because they offer something special. Each season (Ocean City has a spring Restaurant Week as well) these restaurants work to increase their popularity among locals and visitors alike. For them, restaurant week is a chance to really show off.

OC 360, the rooftop restaurant at the Fenwick Inn, has just this approach in mind. Food and Beverage Manager Shannon Madden said the event was just right for the new restaurant.

“I decided I wanted to showcase our food and showcase ourselves for the town,” she said. “We’ve been very successful for these first few days.”

Liz Walk, event manager for the Ocean City Hotel Motel Restaurant Association, said stories like those are the ones the town has been trying to tell.

“We definitely have a good range of different restaurants participating this year,” she said. “You can get breakfast, lunch or dinner, whatever your price point is.”

Ideally, Ocean City Restaurant Week also would be a tourism bump, with people taking the opportunity for lower prices in both meals and rooms to make an offseason week of it. The restaurant association works to put together packages that encourage that.

Another angle from the restaurant’s perspective, though, is that sometimes it is worth it to treat yourself to something nice.

“A lot of restaurants provide add-ons to their fixed-price menus,” she said. “Fall specials or drink deals that they think might complement the meal.”

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Sello’s Italian Restaurant, for example, has a number of wine-by-the-bottle discounts to accompany their menu. Again, it provides the diner an opportunity to try something they might not often try, ordering a bottle with dinner at a price that’s low enough to make up for taking a chance.

Walk said the restaurant association is sponsoring a drawing for people who visit two different restaurants. Diners who send a photo of their receipts will be entered to win one of three gift certificates to the restaurant of their choice.

The prizes are one $100 certificate and two $50 certificates. More information is available at OceanCityRestaurantWeek.com.

If you go

What: Ocean City Restaurant Week

When: Through Nov. 19

Where: Participating restaurants in Ocean City  

Cost: Varies from place to place

Info: https://www.oceancityrestaurantweek.com/partners 

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