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Restaurants pledge support

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Submitted to the Optic

The Landmark Grill, the El Fidel Restaurant, Mary Ann’s Famous Burrito Kitchen and the Travelers Cafe have applied and been accepted into the Farm to Restaurant project, a local program which networks area farmers  and ranchers with Las Vegas restaurants.

Lee Einer, organizer of the project, said that the community benefits in many ways when restaurants buy and serve locally grown foods. “Any time you shift spending from large national chains to homegrown local businesses, there is an immediate economic boost for the community, because money spent locally tends to circulate locally and stimulate more business rather than being siphoned off to some remote corporate headquarters. But beyond that, diners get to eat better, healthier and more flavorful food, and restaurants that are known to support local  farmers and serve fresh, local foods are likely to attract more customers.”

“That’s what we’re here for,” Einer said. “To connect local farmers with local chefs in such a way that everybody, including the customer, wins.”

The Travelers Cafe on the old town Plaza is the most recent local restaurant to join the program and commit to purchasing from local vendors. Quiches from local, free- range eggs are already on the menu.

Teresa Victor, the proprietor, also is a distributor for El Vallecito meats, which offers beef, goat and lamb raised near Mora.

Mary Ann’s Famous Burrito Kitchen has been a Las Vegas fixture for many years. Mary Ann Dueñas, who along with her husband Carlos, owns and runs the restaurant, has been cooking professionally in the Las Vegas area for roughly four decades; Mary Ann’s Famous Burritos has been at the same location at 528 Grand Avenue for the past 10 years, where she continues to attract customers with her made-fresh-daily takes on traditional New Mexican cuisine. Carlos is also a regular at the Tri-County Farmers Market in Las Vegas, where he helps staff the market while selling Mary Ann’s burritos. Their calabazita burrito is a farmers market favorite.

The El Fidel Restaurant, owned and operated by Miguel Velasquez and Juan Ortiz, has been a patron of local farmers since it has been in business. Miguel and Juan have now committed to expand their purchasing from local farmers and ranchers. Located in the historic El Fidel Hotel, the El Fidel Restaurant offers a seasonal menu with Miguel and Juan’s innovative interpretations of classic cuisine, and frequent specials based on fresh, local ingredients.

The Landmark Grill  is a newcomer to the locally grown food scene, but they are embracing it with enthusiasm. The Landmark’s new chef, John Young, has been working with local farmer and chef Armand Saiia to develop a new menu around locally produced foods. Saiia’s salad greens, from his El Ancon-based Infinity Farm, will begin gracing the Landmark Grill’s tables after May 1. And for an extra $2, Sunday brunch customers can take their meals up a notch with locally grown, free-range eggs. Wid Slick, the Grill’s owner, said plans are in the works to offer locally raised beef and lamb in the fall.

When visiting these restaurants, feel free to talk with the staff about  what their seasonal specials are, what locally grown foods they are  offering and what farmers and ranchers they buy from; transparency in  food sourcing is part of the program.

You can find out more about the Farm to Restaurant Project by visiting the Project’s website at www.lvfarmconnection.org.