20 Bucks & A Dime
by Jennifer Mogensen
Local Restaurant Week entices diners to feast in time of economic famine—for just $20.09, anywhere you go
No one is immune to the effects of the current economic crisis, including local restaurateurs. In an effort to boost the sales at some of Western New York’s independent eateries, the New York State Restaurant Association’s local chapter is once again sponsoring Local Restaurant Week. The event runs through September 28.
The first Local Restaurant Week in Western New York occurred back in March, attracting diners with the promise of good food at the reasonable rate of $20.09. The March event coincided with the original restaurant week established in New York City over 30 years ago. The September version is unique to Western New York and is billed as a celebration of the fall harvest.
According to Peter Longo, president of the NYSRA, the purpose of the event is to facilitate people going to a local, independent restaurant and celebrating, sharing, and strengthening the bond between local restaurateurs, wineries, and brewers. With more than 100 restaurants participating, Longo is projecting that the week of dining could generate nearly $2 million for the local dining scene.
The Food Bank of Western New York stands to benefit, too. Each restaurant participating in the event is being asked to make a donation to the Food Bank of Western New York.
The breadth of restaurants involved in this event is incredible and the menu offerings are vast. From Italian to Mexican and roast beef to filet mignon, even the fussiest Western New Yorker is sure to fill up. “Each participating restaurant is allowed to tailor their menu offerings to fit their clientele,” Longo said.
Diners will have the opportunity to enjoy one of downtown’s premier restaurants, Tempo (581 Delaware), where chef Paul Jenkins is offering both steak and seafood menu items at the set price of $20.09. In addition to their shellfish risotto of calamari, shrimp, and scallops, Tempo is also featuring local wines by the glass starting at just six dollars.
Also looking to cash in on the event, Prime 490 (490 Rhode Island Street) offers diners more than 10 entrees, including a grilled pork tenderloin finished with a green apple cider glaze. All entrées will include a glass of wine as well as a dessert.
One of Allentown’s most unusual eateries is also serving up a deal. Sample (242 Allen Street) is offering a version of their chef’s tasting menu, regularly $36, for just $20.09. The menu features a cheese board, Mediterranean plate, a flight of hors d’oeuvres, and a dessert sampling. Known for his unique selection of sample-sized dishes, Chef Adam Goetz relies on great local ingredients for his creations.
Adventurous diners might try one of the newest additions to Buffalo’s food scene. Juniper, located at 810 Elmwood Avenue, opened its doors less then two months ago, and chef/owner Kate Elliott is eager to make her mark with a menu that features local, seasonal ingredients. Diners can look forward to enjoying an entrée of shrimp penne with sweet peas, orange saffron artichoke ragout, and shaved pecorino. The price will also include a green salad.
In the Southtowns, diners will find deals at such locales as the iconic Italian restaurant, Romanello’s South (5793 South Park Avenue). Perfectly priced pasta and sauce abound just down the street at Ilio DiPaolo’s, too (3785 South Park Avenue). For diners up north, Siena (4516 Main Street) and 800 Maple (800 Maple Road) are offering some fabulous deals.
The event focuses on regional wines and beers, as well. Local wine and spirit distributors, such as Empire North, have been working in conjunction with nearby wineries and brewers to offer deals to participating restaurants. Those deals will be passed on to the consumer. Featured wines from such well-known wineries as Dr. Konstantin Frank and Wagner will be prominent on many menus this week. For beer connoisseurs, look forward to finding an abundance of such area classics as Flying Bison and Southern Tier.
Reinforcing the local connection is the participation and support of Vince McConeghy of LocalFoodService.com. Through his Web site, McConeghy works to connect local food buyers with area merchants and farmers.
A full listing of participating restaurants can be found at www.localrestaurantweek.com, along with maps and menus so that diners can search out their favorites eateries. Restaurants interested in participating in next March’s Local Restaurant Week can also visit the Web site for more information.
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