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NEW YORK The 11 chefs who came to Duffy Square with gourmet lemonade for NYC & Company's Restaurant Day and Week kickoff were good sports: They all stood behind the lemonade tables smiling good-naturedly while everyone else scrambled to befriend the few people holding umbrellas during a brief shower. Restaurant Day, a day when nearly 200 restaurants set out tables in front of their establishments and offer tastings for three to five dollars each, is the kickoff event of Restaurant Week, an entire week where diners can lunch for a prix fixe price of $20.01 at 167 different restaurants. Part of the proceeds from Restaurant Day and Week go to hunger relief charities Citymeals-on-Wheels and Share Our Strength.
Hosted by Tim Zagat, chairman of NYC & Company and co-founder of the Zagat guides; NYC & Company president Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas; Times Square Business Improvement District president Brendan Sexton; and Citymeals executive director Marcia Stein, the kickoff event opened with a few introductory speeches. Oddly enough, when restaurateur Danny Meyer commanded the rain to stop at the beginning of his speech, it sort of did.
The speeches were followed by the lowering--not dropping, like the other giant fruit-shaped object that occupies the other end of Times Square once a year--of a 300-pound lemon designed by Michael Oppizzi of Oppizzi Designs. The lemon, which measured three feet by four feet, was covered by about 700 real lemons donated by Sunkist. (Last year's event had a giant slice of cheesecake.) Following the lowering, guests and members of the public enjoyed the gourmet lemonade from restaurants Eleven Madison Park, Barbetta, Blue Water Grill, Istana, La Caravelle, Ruby Foo's, Russian Tea Room, Sono, Tabla, Tavern on the Green and Union Square Cafe, whose chefs created the lemonade recipes especially for the event.
Read about last year's Restaurant Day launch...