As local foodies try out new and old favorite restaurants during this week’s Lancaster City Restaurant Week, they will be raising money for an organization that helps those who can’t go out to eat.
“We support people who can’t dine out anymore,” Kevin Ressler, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Lancaster, told a group of restaurateurs at last week’s preview reception for the city dining event.
“We’re trying to provide a restaurant-quality meal ... for our friends who are stuck at home,” Ressler says.
Meals on Wheels of Lancaster is the “social mission partner” for the semiannual Lancaster City Restaurant Week event, in which about 35 restaurants around Lancaster city will offer special meal packages at $10, $20, $30 and $40 price points.
The event runs from Monday through next Sunday.
“Different restaurants will be supporting us in different ways” during restaurant week, Ressler noted.
The staff at some participating eateries may ask if you want to round your bill up to the nearest dollar, with the difference going to Meals on Wheels.
Others may choose a restaurant week menu item from which to donate proceeds. There’s a link from the event’s website, lancastercityrestaurantweek.com, that takes diners to a donation page for Meals on Wheels.
And, courtesy of Maker’s Mark, 50 cents from every cocktail made at a participating city restaurant with the Kentucky whiskey will go to Meals on Wheels, said Chris Trendler, partner and general manager at Decades restaurant, bar, arcade and bowling alley.
Decades, 438 N. Queen St., is also a new participating eatery for restaurant week.
On the menu
A few city eateries have joined the list of restaurant week venues for the first time for this week’s event.
Zoetropolis Cinema Stillhouse, 112 N. Water St., for example, is offering a free movie pass with each of its two restaurant week dinner specials: a $20 tapas package and a $20 flatbread special.
The tapas special includes a choice of three small plates from a list including deviled eggs, smoked Gouda dip, bruschetta fries, seasonal vegetables, and a beet and apple matchstick salad.
The flatbread special includes a choice of two small plates from among three flatbread dishes: margherita, rustic Italian and seasonal roasted vegetables.
The Grape Leaf Cafe, which serves from a takeout window at its 30 W. James St. kitchen, has joined restaurant week, as well.
“All of our food is prepared by refugee and immigrant women,” says Grape Leaf Cafe founder Patience Buckwalter. “Our signature items are stuffed grape leaves and hummus, and I really just let the women make their signature cuisine.”
The hummus Buckwalter served with pita bread at the restaurant week preview is made from a Syrian recipe.
“We do catering ... with different cuisines (such as) Pakistani, Congolese, Ethiopian, Sudanese,” Buckwalter says. “And I always have Syrian (food) on the menu.
“We’re very new," Buckwalter says. “And any opportunity we have (such as restaurant week) to let the community know what we’re doing, any opportunity for work for the women, I’m all for it. ... It’s just another opportunity for the women to cook.”
The cafe is offering a $10 lunch deal, with a choice of a falafel or chicken shawarma sandwich platter served with a stuffed grape leaf and hummus and pita chips.
The cafe’s $30 dinner deal for two includes a choice of a Syrian fish or kebab Hindi platter, each served with curry rice, a baba ganoush salad and hummus with pita.
The cafe is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. during restaurant week.
Dough & Co., 46 N. Prince St., is offering a $10 restaurant week “sweet deal,” which includes two scoops of cookie dough or ice cream and two beverages from a menu including coffee and various kinds of regular, flavored and almond and coconut milk.
Dough flavors include fluffernutter, s’mores and vegan chocolate chip.
Lancaster Cheesesteak Co., 43 W. King St., is offering a $10 lunch or dinner deal of one 12-inch chicken or steak sandwich — from an options list including classic, Italian style, and Cajun-style chicken — and a $20 deal for two, offering a choice of two 12-inch sandwiches.
Silantra Asian Street Kitchen, 101 E. King St., is offering a $20 dinner deal for two that includes any two bowl or bing (wrap) meal with a choice of a side or dessert and two beverages.
Lancaster City Restaurant Week has come full circle for Decades’ Trendler.
Trendler, who co-founded Lancaster City Restaurant Week back in 2011, is managing a Lancaster eatery during the local dining-out event for the first time in several years.
Trendler remembers helping create the small weekend-long promotional event, which was initially called On the Square, eight years ago, when he was working at the former Penn Square Grille in the Lancaster Marriott.
“I thought about that earlier today,” Trendler says. “I thought, ‘This is so cool.’ We started restaurant week back then, and now, here we are, (and I’m) part owner of a restaurant downtown. It’s a very exciting time.”
Trendler has been chair of the restaurant week committee since the beginning, though, for several years, he couldn’t directly participate; he was director of beverage and culinary service at the Clubhouse at the Willow Valley Communities, outside the city.
For her first restaurant week as Decades’ chef, Lauren Yeagle is cooking up a $30 dinner deal for two.
Diners choose one appetizer — buttermilk-soaked and cornmeal-crusted fried green tomatoes, skillet cornbread or a salad with shaved asparagus, arugula, grilled local corn and a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette — to share.
They also get two entrees to share, chosen among a Southern vegan plate with Caribbean-inspired greens, vegan mac and cheese and seitan “drummies” (drumsticks); a pulled chicken flatbread and a catfish po’boy.