Tonawanda News

March 31, 2014

Back for another bite

Local Restaurant Week kicks off for latest spring incarnation

By Jill Keppeler
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — As spring finally starts to unfold in Western New York, residents are likely eager to get out of their houses — and organizers of Local Restaurant Week hope they’ll consider eating out as they do that.

Christa Hobart, event coordinator, said 25 new restaurants will be taking part in this spring’s event, which runs from Monday through April 6. In all, 200 restaurants from Hamburg to Lockport will participate, featuring special menu features for $20.14 for one or two people.

Many offer their Local Restaurant Week features for dinner, with some opting for lunch features as well. Hobart said a few are offering breakfast options this time as well.

“I always tell people to use Local Restaurant Week as an excuse to go out and try something new,” she said. “You always have that restaurant in your neighborhood that you always drive by ... but you’ve never gone in. For $20.14, why don’t you give it a try?”

Benefits for restaurants, in turn, include getting customers both old and new into their doors, Hobart said. “This winter’s been rough for restaurants. It’s been cold and people have not gone out to eat like they normally would.”

Among the newcomers, Hobert said she was particularly excited about the addition of four Duff’s Famous Wings restaurants (including the Niagara Falls location), North Tonawanda’s Remington Tavern and Bacchus in Buffalo.

Sammy Mansour, one of the owners of the Niagara Falls Duff’s, said the restaurant’s parent company decided to take part and “We decided to all go in on it.” The restaurant, which opened in August, will offer lunch or dinner for two for $20.14, including 20 wings, a large order of French fries and a large pitcher of pop, or two large sandwiches, large order of French fries and a small pitcher of pop.

“We thought we’d take part in it and give people  a nice deal to come in and try our food,” Mansour said.

Another new participant will be Exit 2 Bar & Grille in the Colvin-Eggert Plaza in the Town of Tonawanda.

Owner Lisa Galus, who worked at the Sonoma Grill for 10 years before opening the restaurant in November, said that she’s a firm believer in promoting locally owned restaurants. The new gastropub-type establishment will feature Local Restaurant Week specials for $20.14 for dinner.

“What better way to expose your business and get families and people to come out and have dinner and not break the bank?” she said. “It’s a chance to get people to come out and try new restaurants. It’s kind of a win-win for everybody.”

In Lockport, the popular Shamus Restaurant offers dinner specials for Local Restaurant Week.

Owner Ann Murphy-Beaulieu said the restaurant has taken part several times and found that the event not only brings in regulars, but also people from other areas of Western New York.

“I think the community is very enthusiastic with it,” she said. “It brings people out to try restaurants they haven’t tried before, it brings in new customers.”

Murphy-Beaulieu credited Chef Dave Stoll for the special menu, which features dinner for one for $20.14.

Diners can choose herb-roasted chicken with honey mustard fennel glaze over mashed red potatoes, slow-smoked Angus beef brisket served over mashed red potatoes with sweet bourbon barbecue sauce or lobster ravioli with asparagus, tomato and spinach with basil and mint sauce.

Each meal comes with salad, vegetable and potato, as well as choice of a dessert: Cream puffs with vanilla custard and Bailey’s whipped cream or a fudge brownie and Bailey’s trifle.

“It’s a good value ... and it’s a good time of year,” Murphy-Beaulieu said. “We’re kind of in the mud season, so it gives people a good reason to go out.”