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Governor OKs trail linking 8 restaurants

The Niagara Wine Trail has a colleague.

Supervisor Marc R. Smith announced Thursday that Gov. David A. Paterson has approved a request for creation of the Niagara Culinary Trail, linking eight Lockport restaurants through roadside signs.

Smith said the signs are likely to be posted next spring by the state Department of Transportation.

Starting with a sign on South Transit Road at the Erie County border, Smith said, the trail will lead to Thaxton's Dinner House, Cammarata's and Manhattans in the town and the Metropolitan Bar and Grill, Shamus, Danny Sheehan's Steak House, Garlock's and DeFlippo's in the City of Lockport.

It's the first and only such trail in Western New York. "There are going to be four culinary trails in New York State, and we're one of them," Smith said. "The nearest one is in the Finger Lakes."

The Niagara Wine Trail has 12 member wineries within the county. The Culinary Trail will cross it, but not duplicate it.

"I think it's a great connection," said Kathy Baker, tasting room manager of Freedom Run Winery in Cambria. "Food and wine go great together. Often, too, people who come to the winery ask where they can eat. I think it'll be great for both the restaurants and the wineries."

"I think any advertising is helpful, a plus," said Peter Calieri, owner of the Metropolitan and the Village Eatery, another Lockport restaurant. "[People] may be heading somewhere else, and people could see the sign and say, 'Let's stop there.' "

Smith said the notion of a culinary trail was suggested to him by Margo S. Bittner, owner of the Winery at Marjim Manor in Newfane. She pointed out that the state was offering grants to set up such trails.

Smith said the effort has $5,000 in hand, $2,500 from Assemblyman Michael W. Cole and $2,500 from Spring Lake Winery, which is sharing a state promotion grant it recently received.

He called a meeting of the restaurants and wineries for 3 p.m. Nov. 11 in Town Hall to plan 2009 promotions.

Calieri said, "My whole thing is to get people to try Niagara County wines." He offers wines from six local wineries in his restaurants.

He said the biggest seller of the lot is the semi-dry Riesling from Freedom Run.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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