Third Year of Regional Culinary Promotion Scheduled for March 22-April 3 NEWBURGH, New York -Though the leaves are barely off the trees, it's not too early to start thinking about the tantalizing meals that await adventurous diners next spring during the third annual Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. The enormously popular 12-day celebration of fine dining in the Hudson Valley is scheduled for March 22 through April 3, 2009 at top restaurants throughout Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, Ulster and Columbia counties. Restaurants can now sign up to be a part of the promotion and are entitled to an early-bird discount if they register before November 30. "Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity for people to treat themselves to gourmet dining at bargain prices," says Janet Crawshaw, Restaurant Week organizer and publisher of The Valley Table, a quarterly magazine focusing on the farms, food and cuisine of the Hudson Valley. "Restaurants have an extraordinary opportunity to showcase their best creations, attract new patrons and delight regular customers. It's all about the Hudson Valley and the pleasures of dining out." During the two-week event (Sunday through Friday only), participating restaurants will offer prix-fixe three-course dinners at $28.09 (beverage, tax and gratuity not included). A number will also offer three-course lunches at $20.09 . Many of the chefs highlight the bounty of the region by using the finest locally-produced ingredients on their Restaurant Week menus. "Chefs go all out to wow customers using many ingredients from Hudson Valley farms, such as venison, heritage pork, artisanal cheeses, apples, wine and just about anything else a true gourmand could hope for," says Crawshaw. Because of the event's growing popularity, organizers are expecting the number of participating restaurants to grow from 81 in 2008 to more than 100 in 2 009. The dining choices are tantalizing and growing--from Restaurant 42 atop the Ritz Carlton Residences in White Plains to the historic John-Michael's in North Salem and the popular Terrapin in Rhinebeck. In 2009, Restaurant Week will be one of the kick-off events celebrating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's exploration of the river in 1609. Many of the restaurants who participated in 2008 reported significant increases in business during the 12-day event. Gary Zuza, owner of Sentrista Grille, said, "Every day we saw a 20 to 150 percent increase in customers. We made many new friends and customers as a result of Restaurant Week and are looking forward to being part of it again in 2009." Restaurateurs were not the only ones excited about Restaurant Week 2008. Customers were equally enthusiastic. "We enjoyed a scrumptious two weeks of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week," said one diner named Linda. "My husband and I have had wonderful dinners at 10 different restaur ants and repeated one (wish there was more time-we would repeat others!)" "We had dinner during Restaurant Week at Off Broadway in Dobbs Ferry, a short walk from where we live," said customers Barbara and Steve. "We haven't been there in over 15 years! We were pleasantly surprised. The food was wonderful and well worth the price!" Below is a listing of the restaurants that have already signed up for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2009: Harvest on Hudson, Hastings Tavern, Garrison John-Michael's, North Salem Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck Starr Place, Rhinebeck Sentrista Grille, Brewster Bywater Bistro, Rosendale Nina, Middletown Village Tea Room, New Paltz Beeb's, Newburgh The Thayer Hotel, West Point Terrapin, Rhinebeck 42, White Plains X20, Yonkers Restaurant X, Congers Backyard Bistro, Montgomery Aroma Osteria, Wappingers Falls Il Barilotto, Fishkill The Depuy Canal House, High Falls Crabtree's Kittle House, Chappaqua Current sponsors of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2009 are The Valley Table, 100.7 WHUD Radio, The Gold Standard Marketing Communications and American Express. Businesses interested in becoming sponsors, or restaurateurs wanting to sign up, may contact The Valley Table Magazine at 845-561-2022 or go online to www.HudsonValleyRestaurantWeek.com.