Restaurant Week began in 1992 in New York City as a way to promote the city and its food during that year’s Democratic Convention; restaurants offered three-course lunches for $19.92. The event soon spread to other cities, other states, even other countries. Maine held its first restaurant week in 2009. This year 72 restaurants from 22 communities in Maine are participating in the event, which runs from March 1-12.

Participating Maine chefs are offering multi-course dinners for a range of prices: $25, $35, $45 and $55, not including beverages, taxes and tip. Some restaurants will also serve special lunch deals starting at $15. Reservations are recommended.

For a list of restaurants and menus, go to mainerestaurantweek.com.

RESTAURANT WEEK OFFICIAL EVENTS

INCREDIBLE BREAKFAST COOK-OFF

WHAT: Ten local restaurants vie for the title of Breakfast Champion. A ticket buys you a taste of all their dishes, and you get to vote for your favorites.

WHEN: 7:30 a.m. Feb. 28

WHERE: Sea Dog Brewing Co., 125 Western Ave., South Portland

HOW MUCH: $25. This event is a fundraiser for Preble Street Resource Center, a social services agency that provides food and shelter for the homeless.

TICKETS: Search for “Maine’s Incredible Breakfast Cook-Off” on brownpapertickets.com.

MAINE MAGAZINE COCKTAIL COMPETITION

WHAT: Local bartenders compete for your vote for best cocktail.

WHEN: 3-5 p.m. March 3

WHERE: Sonny’s, 83 Exchange St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $35

TICKETS: Search for “Cocktail Competition” on eventbrite.com.

PERFECT PAIRING CHALLENGE

WHAT: A celebration of coffee. Enjoy different roast levels and brew methods while savoring treats made by local bakers and pastry chefs. Includes tastes of coffee beer (yes, there is such a thing), a coffee cocktail, and last year’s Restaurant Week award-winning cocktail.

WHEN: Noon to 2 p.m. March 5

WHERE: Coffee By Design, 1 Diamond St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $35

TICKETS: Search for “Maine’s Perfect Pairing Challenge” on brownpapertickets.com.

SPIRIT QUEST

WHAT: Self-guided cocktail and paired bites walking tour.

WHEN: 2 p.m. March 12

WHERE: Various restaurants and bars throughout Portland

HOW MUCH: $45

TICKETS: Search for “Spirit Quest” on brownpapertickets.com.

RELATED EVENTS

GO BIG FOR HUNGER

WHAT: Benefit concert for Preble Street featuring Armies, members of Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds, and The Working Dead.

WHEN: March 3. Doors open at 8 p.m., music starts at 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Portland House of Music, 25 Temple St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $22 in advance, $27 day of show. VIP tickets cost $50 and include a 6:30 p.m. meet-and-greet with Dave Gutter and Anna Lombard (of Armies) with food, a Q&A, and a private performance, all at Kimmy’s, 1366 Westbrook St., Portland.

TICKETS: Search under “events” at portlandhouseofmusic.com.

JAMES BEARD HOUSE PREVIEW DINNER

WHAT: Matt Ginn, executive chef at Evo Kitchen & Bar, will be cooking at the James Beard House in New York City on March 6. Too far to go for dinner? You can still experience the menu at this preview dinner.

WHEN: 5-10 p.m. March 2

WHERE: Evo, 443 Fore St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $75, with an optional $25 wine pairing

TICKETS: Call (207) 358-7830.

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