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OUT TO EAT / Great dishes, drinks and people

A sweet deal

Vito Semeraro used to think his Romeo & Juliet's Bakery and Cafe (1292 Hertel Ave., 873-5730) was too casual for Western New York Restaurant Week. "We're not really a fancy restaurant," said Semeraro, who runs the place with his wife, Susan. "I call it more cafe style."

This time, Semeraro decided his bakery and cafe belonged among the independent restaurants offering $21.11 specials from Monday to April 3. There's 170 restaurants in the Buffalo area and Rochester taking part in the effort (see a complete list at westernnewyork.localrestaurantweek.com). Besides Romeo & Juliet's, 19 Buffalo restaurants are listed that didn't participate last year.

Semeraro, an accomplished baker in Italy before coming to the United States, opened his own place on Hertel in 1999. Romeo & Juliet's has been so popular that Semeraro opened a second store on Sheridan Drive in Amherst.

For $21.11 at Romeo & Juliet's, customers can get half of a salad or soup, any entree and a glass of wine or dessert. "We don't cut portions -- we give the same portions we do all year round," said Semeraro. Regulars "can come and get a little break on the price. New people can come and see the menu we have all the time."

-- Andrew Z. Galarneau

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