Restaurant Week kicks off to praise

LAKE PLACID – The inaugural EAT ADK Restaurant Week kicked off Friday night with a cocktail party at Saratoga Olive Oil Company on Main Street with more than 60 people in attendance.

The event began an opening weekend that restaurateurs and local officials around town described as successful.

“I think it’s going well so far,” EATADK Restaurant Committee Chairwoman Kelsey Torrance-Cassidy said. “The few restaurants I have spoken to have told me they’ve had great turnouts. I know at (Great Adirondack) Steak & Seafood, we did a lot more dinners than even I had predicted, so hopefully some other places have had the same success.

“We’ve also had great responses on social media with people posting pictures from different restaurants and events all around town. It’s been really exciting to see it all come together.”

Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood is one of 25 village restaurants offering three-course, price-fixed dining at reasonable rates. EAT ADK Restaurant Week is an idea generated from a Paul Smith’s College student project targeted at locals.

The weekend also consisted of a handful of special events, including a cooking demo and wine tasting hosted by Wynde Kate Reese of Green Goddess Natural Market and Tim Robinson of Terry Robards Wine & Spirits Saturday afternoon. Robinson said about a dozen people attended the demo and wine tasting, where Reese led a group through how to make a “Bumble Bee Salad.”

Saturday night, Professor Bob Brhel and the Paul Smith’s College Draft Horse Club hosted carriage rides at the Lake Placid tennis courts. Assistant Professor Kelly Cerialo said the event went from 5 to 9 p.m. non-stop and raised $130 in donations for the Draft Horse Club. It’s Cerialo’s “Field Studies in Hospitality” class that worked the past two spring semesters to cultivate the EAT ADK Restaurant Week idea.

Cerialo also said three of her students were able to attend the cocktail kickoff event Friday night: Greer Gibian, who helped to design the Restaurant Week model last spring, and Jessica Stafford and Brianne Bisaccio from this semester. The group attended with Associate Professor of Hospitality Management Joe Conto and college President Cathy Dove.

At the kickoff, village Mayor Craig Randall presented Torrance-Cassidy and the Paul Smith’s Hospitality students and faculty with an official proclamation in support of EAT ADK Restaurant Week.

“It was nice to see our business community (supportive), and I was particularly thrilled for Paul Smith’s College to showcase the talent of their people who worked on the event,” Randall said. “It was just another way of showcasing the relationship Paul Smith’s provides to our region.”

Over at The View at the Mirror Lake Inn, Restaurant Manager Katie Welch described the opening weekend as positive with restaurant-goers showing routine interest in the EAT ADK offerings throughout the weekend.

“I think it’s great; we should have done this long ago,” she said. “You see Burlington; you see all these other towns and cities that do it. I’m glad we are doing it and hope it continues.”

Restaurant Week continues each day through Sunday, and an online survey can be filled out to be entered to win a free night’s stay at the Mirror Lake Inn.

In conjunction with the event, Lake Placid Pub & Brewery is hosting the inaugural Toast of the Tri-Lakes tonight. Toast of the Tri-Lakes will be the first time six area breweries serve all in the same room at the same time, Pub & Brewery owner Chris Ericson said. For a $30 day-of-event rate, each of 75 guests will get 10 sampling tokens, be able to feast on appetizers and take home a souvenir pint glass. Ericson said Monday morning that only a few tickets were still available for the event.

In addition to his brewery and Great Adirondack, the participants will be Ausable Brewing Company of Keeseville, Blue Line Brewery of Saranac Lake, Big Tupper Brewing of Tupper Lake, Raquette River Brewing of Tupper Lake and Saranac, made at the Matt Brewing Company in Utica.