Binghamton’s fifth biannual Restaurant Week will kick off today to feature deals on meals at local hot spots.
Restaurant Week begins today and will end on Thursday, March 29. Restaurants will feature special menus offering three-course meals at $10 for lunch and $20 for dinner.
This year, Restaurant Week will feature two new restaurants — Binghamton Hots and The Loft at 99.
The other participating restaurants are Burger Mondays, Cortese Restaurant, Crepe Heaven, Cyber Café West, Little Venice, Lost Dog Café, Mad Moose House of BBQ, Nezuntoz Café, Number 5, Remlik’s, River Bistro, Saké-Tumi, Taste of Europe, Tranquil Bar & Bistro and Whole in the Wall.
“We’re just very excited to keep adding new restaurants,” said Marie McKenna, co-owner of Lost Dog Café and Restaurant Week organizer.
A portion of Restaurant Week proceeds will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Binghamton.
This year’s event is being promoted by www.bingspot.com, a website that lists upcoming concerts, food and drink deals, art exhibits, theatrical productions and parking options, and is also known for posting pictures of students and locals at events around Downtown Binghamton. BingSpot, which was founded by Binghamton residents Joshua Ludzki and Michael Grasso, launched in January 2011.
Ludzki is currently studying in the MBA program at Binghamton University, and Grasso received a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the University in 2007.
Grasso said he was inspired to create a website that would bring more traffic through Binghamton and re-invigorate the community’s desire to get out and enjoy the city.
“One of the big frustrations that I have had is people constantly complaining that there’s nothing to do here,” Grasso said. “Our goal really is to make sure people know that greater Binghamton is a really great place to live, work and play.”
According to Ludzki, BingSpot, Piero Lisio from Little Venice, Marie McKenna from Lost Dog and Amy Wielunski, a marketing consultant, are the organizers of this year’s event, with help from Binghamton’s Economic Development Office.
McKenna said she has enjoyed working with the BingSpot team.
“They’ve helped Downtown Binghamton so much in getting the word out for all the fun things happening Downtown,” she said.
The team has also partnered with the Binghamton Senators, the local hockey team, to advertise Restaurant Week to a sports audience as well.
Mayor Matthew Ryan said in a press release that he is looking forward to Restaurant Week.
“Restaurant Week is a great opportunity for citizens from near and far to enjoy what Binghamton has to offer while also supporting an important cause,” Ryan said. “This event has gained greater popularity each year, and we look forward to building on that momentum this spring.”
Restaurant Week is known to be popular with students, who take advantage of the opportunity to dine on a college budget.
Amber Ferger, a junior majoring in bioengineering, said she has taken part in Restaurant Week before and will “most definitely” do the same this year.
“It’s a good way to kind of experience the food without paying full price,” Ferger said.
Wai Fai Lau, also a junior majoring in bioengineering, agreed and said Restaurant Week is a good opportunity to order items that are traditionally more expensive.
“I would not have bought what I bought if it wasn’t $20,” Lau said.
Ludzki said he anticipates that this spring’s Restaurant Week will spur community involvement in the city.
“With the weather we’re having right now, it’s the perfect time to get people out of their homes again and spending time in the Binghamton restaurants,” Ludzki said.