In 1996, Janet Crawshaw and Jerry Novesky traveled 35,000 miles across the United States in search of “authentic American experiences.” What they found was that regional character is best defined by regional fare: bakeries, markets, wineries, and farms. Ten years later the pair launched Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, a two-week culinary event that premiered with 70 restaurants, a number that has since grown to include almost 200 establishments across Westchester, Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Ulster Counties.
Last year alone, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week generated $20 million in sales and revenue. “That’s a major boost for local businesses, farmers, producers, and purveyors,” said Crawshaw. “Our mission is to support the Hudson Valley region, which has become an epicenter of the farm-to-table concept and is at the forefront of the craft food and beverage movement.”
Restaurant Week runs from March 9 to 22; participating restaurants are offering three-course prix fixe dinners for $29.95 and lunches for $20.95—not including beverages, tax, and gratuity. This year’s Restaurant Week kicked off at Harvest on Hudson, a farm-to-table restaurant right on the river in the village of Hastings.
“It has been a long winter and it’s time to go out and sample Westchester’s finest restaurants during these coming weeks,” said Bruce Bernacchia, the restaurant’s co-owner. The timing couldn’t have been better; the event fell on the first day of the year to feel like spring.
Harvest on Hudson featured a unique blue cheese and pear pizza made with only locally sourced produce; it was baked by chef David Amorelli with help from Astorino.
Astorino promised to cut taxes and wasteful spending during his gubernatorial bid last year. Turns out he’s also gifted at cutting pizza!
“Learning how to cook one of my favorite dishes with an excellent chef at an iconic Westchester Restaurant—I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the start of spring Hudson Valley Restaurant Week,” said Astorino, who handled the brick oven pizza like a pro.
Astorino urged diners to, “text, tweet, and call all your friends and family to ‘meet me in Westchester’ for a terrific meal at an affordable price.”
Love local restaurants and food? Let us know your favorites by voting for this year’s Best of Westchester nominees!
Westchester County itself has become a major player in Restaurant Week; “For us in Westchester the numbers continue to grow, we’re up to 100,” said Natasha Caputo, director of Westchester County Tourism and Film. To Caputo, Restaurant Week is about “enjoying all the four corners of Westchester.” Other participating Westchester restaurants include Best of Westchester winners like Crabtree’s Kittle House and X2O Xaviars on the Hudson along with 13 new restaurants such as Trattoria 160 in Pleasantville and Birdsall House in Peekskill.
A complete list of participating restaurants is available at hudsonvalleyrestaurantweek.com.