A Buffalo tradition returns from a pandemic hiatus: “Dine local. Dine often. Dine well.”
New tastes of all kinds – from new dishes to prix fixe menus — will be debuting for lunch and dinner in celebration of the return of Buffalo Restaurant Week from Oct. 24-30. After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the regional collaboration has returned.
“The people that used to be in it are happy that it’s back, but also there’s a lot of new restaurants that are out there,” said Dan Garvey, innkeeper at the Roycroft Inn in East Aurora. “This is a chance for them to get out and tell the public what they’re made of. It’s going to be an exciting week here in Western New York.”
This month’s Restaurant Week includes new coordinating help from Visit Buffalo Niagara, or VBN, the official tourism promotion agency for Erie County. This fall it joins the Western New York chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association to help launch the traditional promotion with a new approach.
Restaurants will no longer pay to participate. They can decide whether to offer new menu items, specially priced prix fixe meals or a combination. Diners who visit the restaurants, taverns, diners and bistros that have joined the 2022 Restaurant Week can choose from an array of eateries listed here.
The new Restaurant Week assist from VBN aligns with its mission to promote Erie County’s tourism industry and inspire people – locals, Canadian neighbors and travelers — to discover Buffalo. “What is one common activity that all tourists engage in when they are traveling? Dining out,” said Patrick Kaler, VBN president and CEO. “By promoting the county’s unique dining experiences, we are encouraging, not only visitors, but also residents, to try new flavors or a restaurant they’ve not been to before.”
VBN is a marketing, and management, organization and, as Kaler sees it, “It is our responsibility to assist the many sectors of Erie County’s tourism industry.”
The return of Restaurant Week was welcome news to Ellie Grenauer, owner of the Glen Park Tavern in Williamsville.
“The other restaurateurs that I spoke to are excited to participate. I think it’s just going to be a fun ‘welcome back from the COVID world’ week,” said Grenauer, who helped with planning. “My chefs are looking forward to trying out some new recipes. It’s kind of exciting to do something different.”
At the Roycroft, Restaurant Week aligns with the debut of the fall-winter menu. Garvey will use some of the suggested prix fixe prices to offer a series of options for $25, $35 and $45. “It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase exactly what our menu is,” he said. “It gives people a chance to come out and test and try.”
Garvey expects that the buzz will help restaurants still struggling to recover from the pandemic. “We’re back,” he said, “and this great renaissance that Buffalo hospitality is experiencing now can be showcased.”