By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News
— If there’s one week of the year when all the foodies rejoice, it’s bound to be Local Restaurant Week. Good thing there are two of them each year.
The spring edition is Monday through April 28 and includes some 200 restaurants in the Western New York area.
The deal is this: For $20.13, diners can get one or two lunches or dinners. Most restaurants offer a variety of entree options, and sometimes appetizers and desserts.
For many restaurants, this equates to a deal for the wallet.
But for some, like Smoke on the Water owner Kevin Richert, he’s hoping Local Restaurant Week will show area diners there are affordable meals to be found at his barbecue joint in the City of Tonawanda the rest of the year as well.
“We have a million options on our menu in that price range,” he said. “It gives people who are hesitant to come in (an opportunity to) see our menu and they can come in here on the regular and see they can still get that price.”
Smoke on the Water’s deal is one meal for $20.13 that includes a choice of either an appetizer or soup; choice of either smoked chicken and smoked pork butt, or ribs and smoked pork butt; cole slaw; and apple pie.
This is the second time the restaurant has participated in the weeklong event even though it’s only been open since July.
“What we like about it is that it really opens us up not only the community we are surrounded by but also by people outside the area,” Richert said. “It gets people down to our beautiful Tonawanda waterfront area, which I think is underexposed.”
It’s that celebration of a fun dining atmosphere that Local Restaurant Week event coordinator Christa Hobart wants to emphasize. She said during last fall’s restaurant week, event officials visited a few eateries to create a promotional video.
“We went out to talk to restaurant owners but what we had more fun with was talking to the people who were out to eat,” she said. “It was like a party was going on inside ... there was an air of excitement. Every restaurant we went into was busy if not packed.
“You just felt like something cool was happening and you wanted to be a part of it,” she added.
Hobart said there’s a growing interest nationwide, but especially in Western New York, in eating locally and celebrating celebrity chefs.
“We see Food Network is growing and there are all sorts of celebrity chefs. Every city has their own celebrity chefs ... people are more in tune to that,” she said, stressing the importance of spending money locally instead of going to a restaurant whose headquarters are in another part of the country.
“We treasure our local restaurants here,” she said.
For more information about Local Restaurant Week and to see a list of participating restaurants, visit www.localrestaurantweek.com.
A new feature of the website this go-round is that the restaurant listings can be ordered by what meal it offers for the Local Restaurant Week special. Some offer only dinner specials, while some may offer lunch and dinner, or even an “other” option for eateries that might offer brunch, for example.
Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.
RESTAURANTS IN THE TONAWANDAS PARTICIPATING IN LOCAL RESTAURANT WEEK
• Amici Ristorante, 2516 Elmwood Ave.
• Jovi's Italian Grille & Bistro, 2795 Delaware Ave.
• Manzella's Restaurant, 3347 Delaware Ave.
• Orchid Asian Bistro, 2756 Elmwood Ave.
City of Tonawanda
• Smoke on the Water, 77 Young St.
Town of Tonawanda
• La Hacienda Brighton, 900 Brighton Road
• Rizzo's Casa di Italia Restaurant, 2763 Eggert Road
• Saigon Bangkok, 512 Niagara Falls Blvd.
• Shannon Pub, 2250 Niagara Falls Blvd.
• The Grill @ The Dome, 175 Brompton Road
• The Hideaway Grille, 399 Division Street
• Yummy Thai, 92 Webster Street