Local restaurants fight recession with food

"They're having one appetizer and splitting it as opposed to two appetizers," said Olesko.

Two restaurants in Rotterdam have also felt the pinch of the recession, but are trying different offers to bring in diners, both new and old.

"We've put together a stimulus package menu on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday," said Peter Guidarelli, owner of Roman Villa Italian Restaurant.

He said the restaurant offers 15 dinners for $9.99 on those nights.

"We have a menu that really caters to the Rotterdam and Schenectady residents," said Guidarelli.

"It's good food. It's not fancy. We're seeing more families coming in for pizza because it's a great meal that you can get at a great price. You can feed a family of four for 25 bucks with a 12-cut pizza and a few toppings," said Guidarelli.

To lure customers in he has also "given a fresh look" to the restaurant by residing the exterior of the building and putting in new flooring.

"It's trying to find a reason for people to come out, and people need a break form the news of the economy and the best way to do that is to give them great food at a great price," said Guidarelli.

Other methods Guidarelli is working with to bring customers include live entertainment on Wednesday and Thursday nights, as well as free pizza at happy hour Wednesday through Friday.

He and other Rotterdam restaurant owners work together to help each other out by referring customers to one another when they can't accommodate their needs.

"We've always had a good neighborly relationship," said Evan Christou, owner of Tops Grill, Bakery and Bar.

"In ways we compete, but in many ways we are in the same boat rowing in the same direction," said Christou, who added that they share a good percentage of customers who will go to Tops one night and then Roman Villa the next.

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