CORNWALL, Ontario - There's a new, but familiar face in the fourth serving of Restaurant Week, and he's not afraid to push the limits of comfort food.
Tony Lacroix, owner of Love Love Food - a café-bistro-bakery in downtown Cornwall, has partnered with the Seaway Food Festival event. Restaurant Week runs from April 5-9.
"It allows us (restaurant owners and chefs) to push the limits of our creativity, and to really showcase what amazing culinary talent we have in the area," said Lacroix.
He says the five-day event generates renewed interest and enthusiasm for the Cornwall area culinary scene.
"This is a great opportunity for my team and myself to showcase what we do at the bistro," Lacroix added.
Restaurant Week organizer Sebastien Manigat, of Bastion Hospitality, announced two additions to this year's lineup, including L.L.F. and the newly relocated Eight Zero Zero Resto Lounge.
The event typically attracts hundreds of people - hungry foodies dine on gourmet creations at a fraction of the price, while feeding social media with mouth-watering updates.
This year, organizers are "tweaking" their winning recipe. Translation: there's some belt tightening when it comes to portions (originally all meals were three-courses) and pricing (a nominal $2 hike).
“We wanted to give them more flexibility with their menus and bring about an environment that will allow their creativity to shine," said Manigat.
Each restaurant will offer a specially designed two-course or three-course menu for $24 or $28.
South Glengarry's Sheep's Head Bistro, just east of Cornwall, is planning on bringing an "East Coast feel" to the event, thanks to head chef Lewis Meehan, a native of Halifax, NS.
"We are thinking more towards seafood this time," said bistro owner Hassan Rafiei.
Previous Restaurant Week participants include Casa Paolo, Sticks Sports Bar & Grill, Maple Room Steakhouse, the Propeller, Bar Q, Moustache Joe’s, Truffles Burger Bar, Table 21, Schnitzels, and ESCA Gourmet Pizza + Bar.
The full list of restaurants will be announced March 1.
"Cornwall's culinary scene is a thriving industry," said Rafiei. "It's diverse, there's so much to choose from, Thai, Greek, French, Italian, Canadian, etc. It's important to hold these events to promote business, to educate and to show that even a small town can still produce great food."