Tyler Welch, Assistant News Editor

Cash-strapped students can stretch their dollars a little bit further this summer, with the advent of Westdalicious. The two-month event is a chance for Westdale eateries to collaborate and to each offer a special bargain from their menus.

Seventeen restaurants in Westdale Village will be participating in Westdalicious and they have all agreed to offer their respective bargains from July 1 until August 31, inclusive.

Those who combine a sweet tooth with a reliance on coffee will certainly gravitate toward The Second Cup, where they will be able to walk away with a medium coffee and any slice of cake for five dollars. For a light lunch, a hungry pair of students can stroll down to Pita Pit, share the cost of $20, and enjoy two 6-inch petitas, two smoothies and a choice of chips or cookies.

McMaster student Ryan Beshara likes the idea of Westdalicious and is glad that The Bean Bar - his favourite Westdale restaurant - is participating. Beshara appreciates the opportunity to take a friend and enjoy their delicious cake for a fraction of the regular price (two slices of cake for $15 during the promotion). “It’s a smart way of exposing the different restaurants of Westdale” he said. “It gives us a taste of the types of food that are in our area.”

Beshara said he will probably try out Walker’s Chocolates ($10 box of mint meltaways) or Dragon Court (2.5 pounds of lobster for $25) this summer, to take advantage of the specials they are promoting.

The whole concept - the brainchild of the Westdale Village business association - takes inspiration from a similar idea in Toronto. Since 2003, Toronto has held two food festivals - Summerlicious and Winterlicious - in an effort to encourage dining out at expensive restaurants that are usually beyond the scope of many people’s budgets. Westdalicious is certainly a smaller undertaking - Toronto’s current Summerlicious includes 196 restaurants in its 2013 promotion. However, Westdale’s runs longer. Where West Hamilton locals will be treated to savoury deals and sugary bargains for two months, the Toronto-licious promotions only last for two weeks each.

Toronto’s festivals have come to include the city’s high-end dining options and have provided a genuine incentive for local restaurant spending during historically lower periods. Toronto has seen a growth in popularity during the each festival’s decade-long lifetimes.
While the true economic impact of Westdalicious remains to be seen, students will surely be figuring out how dining in Westdale Village can now fit into their budget.

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