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Long Island Restaurant Week returns for 2020, more vital than ever

Baby Artichoke at Casa di Fratelli in Westbury.

Baby Artichoke at Casa di Fratelli in Westbury. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Given the industry's epic challenges these days, one could argue that Long Island Restaurant Week, the autumn version of which begins Oct. 18 and runs until the 25th, is too puny by half. Still, it's something. Around 60 eateries are participating in this installment, down from an average of almost 250 in years past, serving three-course meals at a set price. Steve Haweeli, President of Long Island Restaurant & Marketing Hospitality Group, which is organizing the event, attributed the smaller number to "closed restaurants and restaurants with limited indoor seating at 50%."

Among the restaurants not participating this time is Elaia Estiatorio in Bridgehampton. "Offering a prix fixe menu with low prices that barely covers costs is more of a hindrance" than a help, said owner Sofia Crokos, adding that diners should instead be encouraged to support local eateries by dining a la carte, ordering takeout and delivery, and purchasing gift cards.

To that end, this fall’s program has some changes. Some eateries will offer a three-course dinner menu for $25, others a $35 menu — and some will offer both. Also new: Two-course lunch meals for $20 at some establishments, and some will make prix fixe meals available for takeout, too. (Of note, a Long Island Takeout Week is in the works tentatively scheduled for Jan. 24-31, 2021.)

As ever, it’s a great way to visit an upscale place at downscale prices (think Teller’s, LakeHouse, Red Salt Room) or perhaps venture outside your culinary comfort zone and try something new.

Just like Restaurant Weeks past, diners will be given three options for each course in the evenings, and prix fixe menus will be served all-night-every-night except Saturdays, when establishments are not required to offer them past 7 p.m. In all cases, reservations are highly recommended.

The Long Island Restaurant and Hospitality Group, which is organizing the event, also hopes to raise money for Island Harvest and the Independent Restaurant Coalition. The latter, founded in March, is dedicated to saving local bars and restaurants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, advocating on behalf of them at the local, state and federal level.

The fall edition of Long Island Restaurant Week runs from Oct. 18 to 25. For A complete list of participating restaurants, visit longislandrestaurantweek.com.