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Local Restaurant Week Returns

The bad news is that the serious, hardcore Restaurant Week veterans have likely snatched up some of the most prime reservations at the area’s most venerable restaurants. The good news is that with over 150 restaurants in the region participating, you’ve got a great excuse to reach a little and try something new.

Now in its third year, Local Restaurant Week in Buffalo definitely has serious, hardcore veterans. People who suspiciously bought a bit less at the grocery store this past Sunday. People who convince themselves that the Lenten season is one of sacrifice, but also that turning down full restaurant meals for $21.11 each would be a kind of sin. People you could find out just about every night this week, helping restaurants carry on through their toughest period of the year.

The depths of March falls between the hunker-down winter and the open patio seasons. In 2009, chef Mike Andrezjewski, currently the owner of Seabar, but previously of just about every notable restaurant in town, saw other cities shoring up their similarly slow periods with prix fixe “Restaurant Weeks.” Andrezjewski wanted Buffalo to have a similar means of promoting locally owned restaurants in tough times, so he worked with the WNY chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, and then LocalFoodService.com, to make Local Restaurant Week a reality.

And now it’s here, for the third year, Local Restaurant Week, with more offerings than ever. Newcomer Blue Monk, the gastropub on Elmwood Avenue with a serious Belgian fixation, is offering up one appetizer (a half-pound of brew-braised mussels or their already-famous duck-fat-fried frites), one entree (steak frites, chicken stuffed with “oatmeal stout goat cheese,” polenta, and more, or a vegetarian-friendly “Belgian hotpot”), and one dessert (oatmeal stout or German chocolate cake) for that $21.11 lock. Della Terra, tucked inside the Avant building, features picks like “Rustic Gnocchi Bolognaise” and an espresso chocolate cheesecake. Don’t like feeling penned in by two or three options at each step? Fuji Grill II in Hamburg gives you a pick of five options from a long list of starters, entrees, and specialty sushi rolls, that you can assemble pretty much however you’d like.

So hit up that place your friends, significant other, and co-workers are tired of hearing you say you “should definitely try some time.” Some time has arrived, and it runs until April 3rd. And mark your calendar for next year, like the serious, hardcore veteran you know you are.

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