When Bonnie Lorentz took her first food tour of Lewiston it was for a bachelorette party. She loved it so much she brought her husband Brian back for a second tour and they brought their friends on a third. 

The food tours, provided by The Roaming Table - Lewiston Food Tours, gave the Buffalo teacher and her husband and friends the chance to visit restaurants they might never have tried.

“I can’t say enough good things about them,” Lorentz said of the tours. 

“I love the history they shared about Lewiston and getting a taste, quite literally, of each of the restaurants on the tours,” she said. “It encourages my husband and I to travel back to Lewiston.”

Food tours in the Village of Lewison are proving to be a great way for visitors, newcomers, and even locals, to savor the flavors of the village. 

Christopher Tepas, owner of the Roaming Tables - Lewiston Food Tours, says he is sometimes surprised by those who take the tours. “It’s interesting. We always get a heavy customer base from Buffalo and the suburbs, from people who want to take a little ‘staycation.’ But we get Lewistonians too,” he said. Last year was the strangest, he said. “We had so many people from New Jersey. It was the weirdest thing ever. Maybe it’s because they had the same COVID policies as New York.”

Regardless of who is taking the tours, there’s no doubt they are good for business in the village.

Lorentz said just talking about the tours made her want to plan another one. “It was great to get outside, get some exercise, try some new food and drinks, spending time with different friends and learning history too,” she said.

Tepas said the history component will be even stronger this summer as he adds a Prohibition Tour to the lineup.

“The Prohibition Tour is a happy hour-style tour,” he explained. “We taste cocktails or wine or beer at four different locations and the drinks are paired with enough food to make a filling dinner,” he added.

With its renowned cocktail history, Tepas said, the village is the perfect place to hold a Prohibition Tour. “Obviously, Lewiston being the birthplace of the cocktail, we also talk about Prohibition and its effects on Niagara and WNY,” he added. 

Both the Historic Lewiston Food Tours and the Prohibition Food and Drink Tours take visitors by foot to four different restaurants along Center Street. 

Eateries featured on the Historic Lewiston Food Tour include the Silo Restaurant, which offers a sample of its famous Haystack steak sandwich and the Village Bake Shoppe, which provides a mini version of their specialty, the Mile High Apple Pie. Other restaurants include Gather American Eatery, the Orange Cat Coffee Co., DiCamillo Bakery, and the Brickyard Pub and BBQ.

The Prohibition Tours typically feature Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen, owned by Michael Hibbard and located on the site of the Hustler’s Tavern, where cocktails are said to have been invented, but since a new Gallo is currently under construction at Center and Fourth streets, groups on the Prohibition Tours are being taken to another of Hibbard’s restaurants, Gather American Eatery on Center Street. In addition, since a fire in the Brickyard Brewing Company last year and with current construction on that site, Prohibition Tours are currently visiting the Brickyard Pub and BBQ adjacent to the brewpub until construction of the brewpub is complete. Other restaurants on the Prohibition Tours are Cask + Cow and The Griffon House. 

Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen owner Hibbard thinks the tours are a great idea. “It gives us exposure outside of the area that we’re maybe not getting otherwise. Collectively I think it just helps everybody,” Hibbard said.

Tepas, a teacher at Westminster Community Charter School in Buffalo, is looking forward to his eighth season of food tours in the village, which start Saturday with an expanded tour guide crew of three including, Rita Geiben, Giovanna Accordino and Laura Barkewitz.

 Due to COVID restrictions, the tours are limited to groups of 10, instead of the typical 12. The groups don’t get larger than 12 because, “We like to keep it a unique and intimate experience,” Tepas said.

The Roaming Table also offers private tours. Tickets are $59 for adults and $42 for those 12 and under. For more information or to purchase tickets for an upcoming Lewiston Food Tour, visit www.lewistonfoodtours.com.

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