Hudson Restaurant Week is back!

The Liberty House Restaurant 

Spent too much money over the holidays? No worries – Hudson Restaurant Week is back on Monday, January 13.

Hudson Restaurant Week is a bi-annual two week stretch occurring in January and July when local restaurants offer a multi-course prix fixe menu at a reduced – often significantly – price.

This year, HRW is celebrating its tenth anniversary, and in this highly competitive marketplace, that’s a long lifespan for a restaurant. Even still, Jersey City has four restaurants on the list who have been participating the entire ten years – Edward’s Steakhouse, Casa Dante, Liberty House and The Merchant. There are four new Jersey City restaurants participating as well – Shanghi Best, P.J. Ryan’s, Liberty Prime Steakhouse, and HopsScotch.

But if you feel like traveling, restaurants have opted in from Hoboken, Bayonne, Edgewater and Weehawken too. There are 45 restaurants in total – and if you’re willing to eat lunch as well as dinner, you could potentially visit every one of them since there’s a bonus week this year.

Because the SuperBowl is going to be held in MetLife Stadium this February, there will be an influx of out of town visitors. By extending Restaurant Week into Super Week, HRW founder Tamara Remedios hopes to “entice out-of-town visitors to come to our area.”

Not that HRW is relying on Super Week. “HRW brings in nearly 20,000 diners during the week period, which is a huge bump to the restaurants,” claims Remedios.

HRW began in 2005 when Remedios, in discussion with several restaurant owners figured, “If it works in New York, a restaurant week promotion would work here too.”

Through her company, Xplore Communications, Remedios and the participating restaurants have organized and advertised with no assistance from any of the municipalities for a decade.

And it’s been beneficial – HRW is good for business. It brings people in the door at a time of year when they wouldn’t typically go out to eat. January and July are slow months for restaurants, so HRW brings a needed boost during the toughest times.

It’s good for locals too – HRW also allows people to try new restaurants without breaking the bank, which is really handy in difficult economic times. Many diners even find their new favorite date-place during HRW. Let’s face it – spending on three courses what one that would normally spend on just an entrée is a great reason to try a new place – like the Liberty House.

As mentioned, the Liberty House (located inside Liberty State Park) is one of Hudson Restaurant Week’s founding restaurants – and according to owner Jeanne Cretella, it’s worth it every time.

“Coming into the park in the middle of the winter isn’t as exciting as coming in during the spring and summer when people can enjoy the outdoors.” People avoid the waterfront in the colder weather, she says, because they associate the water with cooler temperatures. And while that’s wonderful in the summertime, it’s a challenge in the winter.

Not that the Liberty House is lacking for business. In addition to the busy fine dining a la carte restaurant component of the business, they also host lavish special events like weddings and corporate parties. They’re constantly awarded for their ambiance, and were even chosen for an episode of WE TV’s My Fair Wedding with David Tutera. That’s what makes them an ideal candidate while perusing the list of participating restaurants.

Their Restaurant Week prices are at the top end ($18 lunch/$38 dinner), but they’re consistent with other high end Jersey City restaurants, including the Hamilton Inn, Casa Dante, Edward’s Steakhouse, Fire & Oak, Liberty Prime Steakhouse, and Max’s of Manila.

And their menu looks delicious. The dinner prix fixe includes three courses – an appetizer, entrée, and dessert – which, again, is consistent with most participating restaurants.

“If I were choosing from the prix fixe today,” says Cretella, “I’d start with the Harvest Salad. That comes with apples and pistachios…cabbage…it’s delicious. Then, depending on whether I was cheating or not, I’d have either the Salmon (with lentils) or the Pappardelle with Pork Bolognese. And we have an amazing cranberry apple crostata for dessert, which could always be switched out if someone wanted something else, of course.”

The point, according to Cretella, is to share the Liberty House experience with guests who haven’t yet visited. That’s why, she says, “We’ve always chosen items off of our regular menu. Hudson Restaurant Week brings new people into the restaurant. We feel it’s important to have guests experience items that are actually on the menu.” And for regular guests – folks who frequent the restaurant? “They use the discounted menu too! It’s a great way to save some money!”

HRW begins on Monday, January 13 and runs through Sunday, January 26. Super Week extends this run in a portion of the restaurants for an additional week – January 27 – February 2.

For additional information, visit hudsonrestaurantweek.com.

Photo provided by the Liberty House

Mel Kozakiewicz

is a writer, performer, and professor. She lives in the Heights section of Jersey City and she is a former editor for Jersey City Independent.