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New Deck Tavern at 3408 Sansom and Sang Kee Noodle House at 3549 Chestnut are both participating in Dining Days. The two-week promotion lasts until June 29, and includes 29 local restaurants. Credit: , ,

Students spending the summer in Philadelphia can take advantage of Philly’s food culture for cheap during University City Dining Days.

The two-week long event ending on July 29 features $15, $25 and $30 three-course fixed-price menus. This marks the first time the annual event has lasted two-weeks, and 29 local restaurants are participating — including Blarney Stone, New Deck, Vietnam Cafe, Marigold’s Kitchen, Distrito, Rx, Pod and Penne.

The Radian’s recently opened City Tap House offers a $30 menu, which manager Gordon Dinerman said is about a $20 discount on food.

In the midst of a recession, eating out is a big deal, said 30th Street Station’s Bridgewater’s Pub server Angela Chieves — and the price reductions in usually expensive menus is an opportunity “you can’t beat.”

Leslie Spellman, the owner of Bridgewater’s Pub, added that Dining Days bring important business from non-regular patrons — generally “if you don’t live here, then you don’t come,” she said.

The University City District started Dining Day weeks in 2005, but expanded to two weeks this year after UCD surveys showed 99 percent of customers saying they would visit more restaurants if the event were a week longer.

New Deck Tavern, located at 3408 Sansom St, is participating in Dining Days for the first time and offers a 3-course meal for $15 — and the promotion has been “very good for business,” Bar Manager Eden Travers said.

“I think just people are starting to get used to the [two week schedule],” Travers said. “As the week went on we got a lot more calls for reservations.”

“We’re always trying to do promotions that are geared to getting the students out to experience the diversity of restaurants,” UCD Director of Marketing and Communications Lori Brennan.

Most participating restaurants see a dramatic increase in business and “our hope is that they’re making money,” Brennan explained.

Temple University rising junior Kim Ross tried a $25 meal — which included a spring roll, pad thai and a fried banana for desert — at Vientiane Cafe at 4728 Baltimore. The deal was “amazing” according to Ross, who said she would “most definitely” recommend Dining Days and that she’d definitely attend Dinning Days again.

But as the event has always been popular, Brennan strongly suggested that diners make reservations in advance and to “do some research” in advance to decide where they want to go. Menus and a list of all participating restaurants can be found at

Tamara De Ment contributed reporting to this article.

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