Western New York on Monday kicked off its sixth Local Restaurant Week, during which more than 200 independently owned restaurants will offer special menu selections for $21.11 plus tax and gratuity.
The twice-yearly happening, which runs through Sunday, was launched during the recession as a way to promote and drive traffic to locally owned restaurants.
“We’re hoping the dining-out public will go out and support our restaurant community,” said Peter Longo, past president of the New York State Restaurant Association. “Your dollars recycle through the local economy at a rate five times greater than money spent at national restaurant chains.”
Rocco Termini hosted the kickoff at his Hotel Lafayette, which will house Sea Bar owner Mike Andrzejewski’s 100-seat steak-house when the redevelopment is completed in May. Five restaurants, with a total price tag of $6.5 million, are in development in the historic hotel.
“Restaurants are actually the economic engine driving the Lafayette project,” Termini said. “It’s an economic development tool that hasn’t been used much in Buffalo but that we’re starting to use.”
Restaurants that participate in Local Restaurant Week benefit from the marketing efforts and broad publicity surrounding the event.
“Restaurants are in competition 50 weeks of the year, but for two weeks they collaborate,” said Vince McConeghy, editor of LocalFoodService.com, a founding organizer of the event with Longo and Andrzejewski.
Local Restaurant Week gives diners an opportunity to sample restaurants they might not otherwise try, at an attractive price point.
Patrons at Acqua on Niagara Street will get three courses for $21.11, with five entrees to choose from, including butter roasted salmon and coq au vin. Amici Ristorante in Kenmore is offering three courses, with dishes such as grouper picatta and lobster ravioli. Main Street’s Bijou Grille has a four-course menu, while the French Pub in Depew offers a three-course meal for two.
Many restaurants are also featuring wine and beverage specials, as well as special meal deals for $31.11 and $41.11. For list of participating restaurants, visit LocalRestaurantWeek.com.