With chain restaurants and fast food joints scattered across New Jersey, it’s special to enjoy one-of-a-kind food from nearby or in your hometown. Those looking to enjoy fresh, local, authentic food while spending a night on the town can look no further than Lawrence.
Lawrenceville Main Street Restaurant Week, which is scheduled to run from April 7 to April 12, will allow diners to get a taste of what Lawrenceville Main Street local restaurants have to offer.
Four restaurants will be sharing their food with Lawrence residents for a fixed price of $20 for lunch or $35 for dinner. The four local businesses (Acacia, Chambers Walk Cafe, Fedora Cafe and Vidalia) will provide a three-course menu for guests with their latest culinary creations. All restaurants are individually owned and passion projects—and together they’re collaborating to bring their dishes for Lawrenceville residents to try.
The Gingered Peach and Wildflour Cafe bakeries will also have special offerings for Restaurant Week, too.
Fedora Cafe owner Giovanni Nilli first heard about Lawrenceville Restaurant Week after receiving an email about the idea from Kelly Edelstein, LMS executive director. Nilli took over Fedora Cafe and Restaurant two years ago, and is happy to share his food with residents for Restaurant Week.
“We feel very happy…we hope to be busy that weekend,” said Nilli.
Chef Chris Voigtsberger is the new owner of Acacia, a restaurant that changes its menu every season, and this year they’ll be “getting ready to launch a new spring menu,” for Lawrenceville residents to enjoy, according to wife Lauren Voigtsberger.
She shared that the idea for restaurant week was introduced a year or two years before LMS Restaurant Week took place for the first time in September 2018.
Acacia, a BYOB restaurant with American cuisine, took part in the Restaurant Week in September, and is looking forward to the event this April. “It was great,” Voigtsberger said of Lawrenceville’s Restaurant week last year. “We loved it a lot, and we think it was a great success.”
As a result of the success from last year, Voigtsberger shared that the main difference in Acacia’s approach to restaurant week this April will be to highlight their latest menu items, some of which will not be available until after restaurant week.
Vidalia has been on Lawrenceville Main Street for 16 years and according to Salvatore Scarlata, its chef and owner, Restaurant Week is a great way to promote Lawrenceville Main Street and to help recognize the town.
“I think it’s a good thing it showcases each restaurant,” said Scarlata, who mentions that one thing Lawrenceville does not have is many walk-in eateries, but has a lot of restaurants.
Scarlata, as the chef for Vidalia, plans to feature new specials for Restaurant Week, and hopes to share his new ideas after recently taking classes in Italy while he was paying a visit to his hometown with his family.
The final restaurant participating in Restaurant Week is Chambers Walk Cafe. Mario and Laura Mangone created Chambers Walk in Princeton in 1986 prior to moving the business to the Village of Lawrenceville in January of 2001. Chambers Walk Cafe offers “gourmet take-out” along with a cafe dining experience.
Each restaurant will bring something unique to Restaurant Week, and Lawrenceville Main Street, a volunteer-run organization, is focused on local business development, according to Edelstein, who is looking forward to restaurant week this April. After the success of Restaurant Week last September, Edelstein looks forward to seeing this restaurant week grow, and is looking to “expand on [its] success.”
In addition to the Restaurant Weeks, the group has planned a Winter Arts Festival and a Year of Art and Community in Weeden Park that included music, food, hands on activity and more for residents.
Edelstein spoke about the future of and what else is in store. The goal behind Restaurant Week is to draw attention to local Lawrenceville businesses, and to show how the community can benefit from a nice local dinner.
“We want to bring people into the village and support small businesses,” Edelstein said.
Voigtsberger said that this event is a great way to “target new customers” and to show to the people of Lawrenceville that their business is a great place “to come by in the middle of the week or to stop by for lunch.”
Nilli said that Fedora Cafe they’re looking forward to “[having] new customers give [Fedora Cafe] a shot” and they’re “ready for customers.”
With prior success, LMS Restaurant Week has more sponsors and a bigger budget to enhance the experience for residents even more. LMS is looking forward to bringing Restaurant week back for Lawrenceville residents, and on a larger scale. “We’re really excited,” said Edelstein.
Lawrenceville Main Street has been a community organization responsible for taking care of the town center in Lawrenceville since 1996. According to their website, LMS was created to “foster economic vitality in the Village of Lawrenceville, N.J.,” and said that, “Lawrenceville is a lively destination for commerce, welcoming new businesses and entrepreneurs.”
Lawrenceville Main Street is poised to be busier than ever before with all the upcoming events they have planned and, according to Edelstein, they’ll be something for all ages, from the youngest members of the community to the oldest, to enjoy. Not only is Restaurant Week an opportunity for a fun, unique meal, but it’s an opportunity to become more acquainted and immersed in the Lawrenceville community.
As for what events LMS has in store beyond Restaurant Week, Lawrence residents can look forward to the organization’s annual plant sale, set for April 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kale’s, located at 133 Carter Road in Princeton. The fundraiser will feature live music, refreshments and a demonstration of container garden planting by Kevin Bullard, a certified nursery and landscape professional. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Lawrenceville Main Street Landscaping Committee’s efforts to plant and maintain flower baskets along the road.
The Spring Arts Festival will held on June 15, 2019 from noon to 4 p.m. in Weeden Park. The free event, in addition to having art, music, community group performances, will also open up the sculpture garden for guests to visit. LMS will secure artists, crafters, vendors, face-painting and more to “showcase community talent,” according to Edelstein. Food and drink will be available for purchase, too.
Other events from LMS that Lawrenceville residents can look forward to include weekly Music in the Park offerings. On Thursday nights in the summer, residents will be able to enjoy music from local restaurants, community activity, balloon games, face-painting and more. Fast forwarding to October 2019, residents can look forward to Scarecrows in the Village, another free family fun event to see who can create “the most colorful and unique scarecrow,” according to the LMS website.
For more information, visit lawrencevillemainstreet.com.