Tonawanda News

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October 13, 2013

Local Restaurant Week pumps millions of dollars into local economy

Tonawanda News — Loosen those belt buckets and schedule some extra time at the gym. It’s time for Local Restaurant Week again, and with some 200 restaurants participating in the event’s 10th celebration, diners just might find their waistlines suffering.

This year’s fall edition of Local Restaurant Week — from Oct. 21-72 — is the 10th of its kind since the biannual event first began in 2009. 

When the event first started out, only 60 restaurants participated and now co-organizer Christa Hobart said Local Restaurant Week has had to cap the number of participants at 200.

“It’s quite a testament to the people of Western New York that we like to eat,” she said. “It’s a well-embraced celebration. We can put ourselves up there with other great things in Western New York like Wing Fest.”

The event is held twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall when the restaurant business experiences a dip in diner turnout, Hobart said. Local Restaurant Week encourages diners to pump their money into the local economy when it needs it.

“We figure that about $4 million pumps through the local economy everytime we run it. That’s a lot of cash,” she said. “Restaurants almost always sign up for it again and again because it’s such a great boon for their business.”

Which is exactly why Peter Calieri, owner of the Village Eatery and Italian Bistro in the City of Lockport, has signed up for Local Restaurant Week repeatedly. Calieri said he was among the restaurants that first signed up for the inaugural event in 2009.

“It brings a lot of people out who maybe wouldn’t normally dine out during the week,” as opposed to the weekend, he said. “It’s about bringing people out. It started when the economy was bad and it was a good shot in the arm for restaurants.”

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