Make your reservations while you can, because Western New York Restaurant Week is back, and some of the best restaurant deals around are going fast.
From Monday through Oct. 2, more than 200 locally owned area restaurants will offer meals for $21.11.
That sum, plus tax and tip, buys dinner for two at blue-collar eateries like Kentucky Greg's Hickory Pit in Cheektowaga, or Schwabl's in West Seneca. Or it will buy dinner for one at upscale city places like Trattoria Aroma, Ristorante Lombardo and Oliver's.
There are lots of local favorites on the list, which includes 43 first-time restaurants, said organizer Vince McConeghy of LocalFoodservice.com. (Check out the complete list, with details of most places' specials, at localrestaurantweek.com.)
Restaurant Week brings out customers willing to try new places, said Dennis DiPaolo, of Ilio DiPaolo's in Blasdell. "It's been great, because not only do the regulars enjoy it, but it brings new people in," he said, including diners from Clarence and the Northtowns.
At DiPaolo's, the $21.11 special would feed a large appetite or a skinny couple: soup or salad, vegetable, a meat dish plus a seafood dish, and dessert.
"Doing an upscale menu like that for the deal, you hope to show people the things you can do besides spaghetti and meatballs, and veal parmesan," DiPaolo said. "Once people make that initial drive, they'll be back."