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Indulge in WNY’s 10th Local Restaurant Week

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Now that it’s reached its 10th iteration and fifth year, Local Restaurant Week may be old-hat for Western New Yorkers. So how does it retain its intrigue?

Mostly because the premise is simple and the temptation to explore Western New York’s culinary realm is too hard to ignore. If you’re unfamiliar with Local Restaurant Week—which runs this fall from Oct. 21 to Oct. 27—the intention is to highlight local and independently-owned restaurants—the number participating has grown from 60 in 2009 to over 200 in 2013.

Depending on the scale of each restaurant, diners can enjoy either a meal for two for a total of $20.13, or at slightly more fine-dining locations, enjoy an individual meal for $20.13—which, when you look at the regular menu prices of Buffalo Chophouse, the Roycroft Inn and Viking Lobster Company—seems like an attractive deal.

At many of the participating restaurants, reservations are either encouraged or required—especially for dinners—as many eateries bring in extra staff for LRW, but it’s pretty difficult for them to make their restaurants any larger to handle the cascade of hungry locals.

Before we ramble on excessively—including a list of the five restaurants in Buffalo we’re most eager to dine at—here are a few links to make your LRW experience a little easier:

List of Participating Restaurants
Local Restaurant Week About Page
An Introduction to Menu Venue

Menu Venue serves as a search tool for locally and independently-owned restaurants, serving as an even more local-centric than its much bigger competitor, Yelp.

Here’s our rundown of five stops we’d like to try in Buffalo—and what we’d order at each:

1) Gypsy Parlor

Why?: It’s brand new, generating a buzz both in the West Side of Buffalo and the city as a whole, and marks progress in a neighborhood that’s diverse and promising.
Type of Food: Romanian Pub Fare
The Deal: One four-course meal for $20.13
What we’d order: Pastelillos—> Lamb Burger—> Papanasi (Romanian Doughtnut)—> Gypsy Juice cocktail

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2) CRaVing

Why?: You can be confident you’ll eat carefully-prepared and locally-sourced food from a Goetz establishment, and CRaVing on Hertel has been popular for dinners.
Type of Food: New American (never really understood what this term meant)
The Deal: One two-course meal for $20.13. See the .PDF of the LRW deal here.
What we’d order: We’d go with the house salad (I know, we’re not always adventurous) and the short rib—they had us at “root-beer braised bone-in.”

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3) Lenox Grill

Why?: The Lenox Grill never seems to get its due—it’s a little hidden in a busy neighborhood, and its 4.5 star Yelp review is littered with comments like “hidden gem in Allentown” and the like.
Type of Food: American Bistro
The Deal: One meal for $20.13—includes a glass of wine though. See the .PDF.
What we’d order: Red wine—> House salad—> Bolognese

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4) Providence Social

Why?: We learned yesterday, via Twitter, that Providence Social is owned by the family of the late Rick Martin, the legendary Sabre that was a part of the French Connection. Plus, it’s new, on the West Side and replaced Prime 490.
Type of Food: Shared plates
The Deal: One shared plate for $20.13
What we’d order: Duck Nachos, Sushi Style Beef Carpaccio, French Onion Dumplings, Red Neck Egg Rolls—those are the four options, and I’d honestly have a hard time choosing (or settling with just one).

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5) Viking Lobster Co.:

Why?: It’s in Black Rock—a community that is part desolate and part increasingly vibrant—and there’s a BYOB policy. Do you read me? BYOB. Make reservations now and you may be able to sneak in. The restaurant is tiny, LRW meals are reservation-only and it books WILDLY fast for Local Restaurant Week.
Type of Food: Seafood. What do you think?
The Deal: There’s a solo dinner option for $20.13, but I’m more intrigued by the “Dinner for one or two for $39.95.” I’ll be honest—with me, it’s for one.
What we’d order: The Viking Lobster Bake includes a 1.25-pound live fresh lobster, a dozen steamers and snow crab legs. You also get fries, coleslaw and soup. Now stay away from me and let me eat it alone!

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Bonus: Tappo Restaurant:

Why?: Mostly because we haven’t eaten there and I’d be up for trying it. It’s a Mike A joint, so how much could go wrong?
Type of Food: Italian
The Deal: Solo dinner for $20.13
What we’d order: There’s only one option on the Local Restaurant Week site, so we’ll go with the Pork Loin Stuffed Porchetta Style with the antipasto salad and the glass of wine.

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Best of luck exploring!

TAGGED: gypsy parlor, lenox grill, local restaurant week, providence social, restaurants, tappo restaurant

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