GUILDERLAND — When the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce reached out to its restaurants about what they needed, the reaction was mixed. So, as it’s known for, the chamber decided to adapt the normal restaurant week format into something a bit less stressful for its members.
“Each restaurant has been affected differently by this past year,” chamber executive director Danielle Walsh said, “[which is] why we decided on the ‘appreciation week’ format. This allows all restaurants in Guilderland the ability to participate without having to come up with a specific three-course menu. Some restaurants commented that they would not want to purchase food for a three-course menu that they could not guarantee they would sell.”
Guilderland’s restaurant week is taking place now and extends until Feb. 28. While each restaurant is allowed to stray from the normal three-course offerings, participating restaurants are required to advertise a specific special for the event.
Six restaurants will be featured: Route 20 Cafe, Inferno Pizza, Nino’s Deli and Subs, 100 Grill, Barcelona and Curry Patta. Menus range from authentic Pakistani cuisine to foot-long, overstuffed subs with sides.
Nadia Raza, owner of Curry Patta in Altamont, is excited for her restaurant week as a business owner. Her restaurant is two months old, but she’s supported enough restaurant weeks in the past to understand the importance of the event’s pull.
“My family and I would always print out all the menus and make a plan to hit as many places as we could during the week,” Raza said. “It’s so important to my family to support these businesses and to be one of the businesses being showcased this year is really special.”
Raza’s story is unconventional in the restaurant industry; she was in dentistry for 18 years before taking maternity leave last year. As she and her husband were caring for a newborn during a pandemic, Raza decided she wanted to pursue her dream and open a restaurant showcasing the food she loves most.
“My husband built this entire space for me and we’ve had such tremendous success so far,” Raza said. “You walk into Curry Patta and the warmth and coziness just hits you. You’re in an elegant restaurant but you’re enjoying the comforts of home.”
Curry Patta is offering a three-course meal, which includes veggie samosas, butter chicken and sooji ka halwa amongst other options.
Sue and Dan Lofrumento, owners of Route 20 Cafe, are also pretty new to the business. While the cafe has always been a newsstand with the option to purchase quick fare, the family-owned cafe expanded and turned into a full kitchen last February. Sue Lofrumento said she’s thankful they took the plunge, as they wouldn’t have survived without the business from the cafe.
“The chamber was a huge help in revamping our image and getting the word out about our renovations,” she said. “They came and did a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which helped us tell people they are still getting all of the same features from the newsstand. We’re just evolving with what seems to be working.”
Route 20 Cafe’s offerings include overstuffed foot-long subs featuring Boars Head meats and Prinzo breads. Each sub comes with lettuce, tomato, onion, choice of dressing and a side.
“We are still that corner store where people can purchase lottery tickets, grab a bite to eat and gather with loved ones,” Lofrumento said. “The fact that our workforce is only our family means we’re able to keep things extra safe and make sure we’re part of the solution to stop the spread of coronavirus.”
For menus and restaurant information, visit https://www.guilderlandchamber.com.