Thinking what to make for dinner tonight? Why not skip the kitchen and go out to eat.
March 20-26 is Local Restaurant Week in Western New York and there are dozens of participating eateries looking to attract new customers.
Sandra Wilkens co-owns downtown Buffalo's first Parisian-style restaurant, Raclettes, with her husband Paul and says they participate because it is fun, can bring in new customers and challenges them to come up with special meals to offer.
"My husband and I travel to France all the time. We decided to open a restaurant, so let's do something different. Let's try French and everyone looked at me like I was from Mars," Wilkens recalls. "French food is not a normal thing in Buffalo. The grill that we have here, most people have never even seen one, so it's really fascinating to see people use it for the first time and get excited about it. The exciting part of it is watching people experience your restaurant for the first time."
Rick's on Main Street in East Aurora also is participating. Co-owner Chris Gibney says the week's promotion has been successful for them.
"It's a great way for us to reach new customers, to bring in business during times that maybe were not as busy, " Gibney says. "I think they do a great job of strategically placing the dates for Restaurant Week during slower times for restaurants, so it's a win-win for both customers and businesses."
"The Glen Park Tavern has been participating in Local Restaurant Week since 2010," said Ellie Grenauer, co-owner of the Williamsville eatery. "I, personally, as one of the owners, like the local feel to it. It makes me feel so connected to the community. We get a lot of new people, new faces in, and I think that the customers come in for that same reason."
Local Restaurant Week celebrates the vital role local eateries have on the Western New York regional economy and cultural identity. The week will have plenty of deals with the price tag $20.17.
For a list of participating restaurants and more comments, check out localrestaurantweek.com.