This week is Local Restaurant Week. It’s the 9th time that locally owned Western New York restaurants will come together to offer lunch and dinner specials for just $20 (and 13 cents). We’ve been big fans of the event since we started the blog back in 2009 and over the years we’ve enjoyed dozens of meals during this bi-annual event. It’s a great chance for WNY foodies to finally try out some restaurants that they’ve been meaning to try but for one reason or another couldn’t. It’s also a great chance for people to support locally owned establishments and hopefully enjoy them so much that they make them part of their regular restaurant rotation. By now, if you are regular readers of our site you know that all we do is push you to eat local. With a city overflowing with independent restaurants, you have no excuse to eat at national chains. And this week is the week to go all out.
This year Local Restaurant Week has over 200 restaurants participating and the folks who run the event have made it easier to look through their offerings. You can either narrow down the participating restaurants by neighborhood or by the type of offering, whether it’s dinner or lunch (often 2 for 1 deals) and even brunch.
For experienced LRW diners, you’ll be happy to know that there are 20 new restaurants who will be participating this year. Some of the more exciting restaurants making their debut: Duke’s Bohemian Grover Bar (kitchen is open til 3am Sun-Thurs), Boomerangs (always have been curious about this West Side bar/restaurant), J’s White Elephant (renovated the old Jacobi’s in Lackawanna, looks really nice) and Savor (fine dining restaurant from Niagara Culinary students).
We attended a preview night for Local Restaurant Week last week (I know, it’s a hard life) and sampled a couple dishes from restaurants that will be participating in this week’s event. The Spring Pea and Vegetable soup from Mike A’s was amazing with a fantastic fresh broth with freeze dried peas and a poached egg in the middle. SeaBar provided some steamed pork belly buns that were killer (and hopefully will be on the regular menu in the not-so-distance future) and Shango made a delicious Bananas Foster Bread Pudding dessert (which they’ll be offering during Local Restaurant Week). Shango, located on Main St. near UB South, is a wonderful choice to a restaurant week meal. We fell in love with Shango because of Local Restaurant Week; after visiting in April 2011 the restaurant became one of our favorites and we’ve been back several times since (a rare thing for us).
If you are overwhelmed with the large number of participating restaurants and would like some help planning your week, here’s some of our suggestions.
- Shango (Downtown near UB’s South Campus) – You really can’t go wrong with Shango, it’s consistently one of our favorite restaurants and their offering includes many of their classic dishes. Get the bread pudding and their gumbo and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
- Ristorante Lombardo (Hertel Ave) – Creative Italian cuisine and their offerings for LRW really do reflect their normal menu (something that isn’t true of all participating restaurants). Add the beet and avocado salad as an extra dish, trust me.
- Mike A’s (Downtown, Lafayette Hotel) – It’s Buffalo’s best restaurant and if you’ve been avoiding because of the price tag, now is the time to finally try it out. They are offering two different meals, one for the dining room and another for the lounge. Both will be great and if you end up in the lounge grab a drink from Bar Manager Tony.
- Marco’s (West Side) – Some of the best red sauce Italian in Buffalo and their offering is for four courses for each diner, totally worth the money.
- Sun Restaurant (West Side) – They have some pricey options but their Black Rice features all look delicious, go check out some of their delicious Burmese cuisine.
- Conlon’s Bar and Grill (South Buffalo) – If you are looking for no-frills pub-food in a homey setting, this is for you. They have a few different LRW combinations that will easily satisfy your cravings for lunch or dinner.
- Seabar (Downtown) – Another one of our favorites, you can’t go wrong with any of what they are offering and the sushi is obviously some of the best in Buffalo.
No matter what your taste’s, there is a restaurant for you. We hope that, like us, you fall in love with a few local restaurants and choose to spend your hard-earned money there in the future as well. For more Local Restaurant Week coverage, check out Christa Glennie Seychew and Ben Tsujimoto’s articles.
Photo Gallery from Preview Dinner (pictures from Local Restaurant Week)