Have I said this enough? Localism is the best feature of capitalism. We, the consumer/citizen have the most control when our economy is as local as possible. The challenge is that sometimes it can be prohibitively expensive for many. That dilemma exists across a range of categories, and ultimately we’ll have to choose which ones are most important to us, and what we can eliminate to be more of a local consumer.
But restaurants are largely the exception. There are greasy spoons, family kitchens, cafes, and gourmet eateries that match every price point of their national competitors. Local restaurants keep three to five times the money in the area as do national chains. So if you’re spending the same amount of money, wouldn’t you want more of it coming back to you? The food is usually better at local spots, the service is
probably the same. But even if there was no remarkable difference, I would still choose a local restaurant every single time. You can help too. At least during Local Restaurant Week (Apr 22-28 in Buffalo), Olive Garden’s parking lot should be empty. Use this opportunity to try somewhere new and let creativity rule.
The chef at National Restaurant X doesn’t really have the opportunity to be an artist She has to play the music of the recipe “as written”. The General Manager usually doesn’t have too much control over hosting benefits or choosing which charities and community organizations to support. The District Manager can’t decide to open a new location in an up and coming neighborhood because he thinks his business will help them turn the corner. He goes by whichever zip code the consultants determined for him.
The local restaurateur on the other hand, paints a canvas. Mike Andrezejewski didn’t ask for permission to make downtown Buffalo more exciting with an amazing hotel bar, top notch sushi, and parties that connect passionate socialites. Prish Moran saw Grant Street at a tipping point and went all in. Deep Singh greets his customers at each of his restaurants to make sure they’re loving their food. These are just a few of many, who earn our dollars and our praise. They give it back. They inspire us. And more than any corporate chain ever could, they breathe life into the expression, “belly full, heart content”.
Who else should be recognized in the local restaurant community?