By Joshua Maloni
It's cruel and unusual having to go an entire winter without a "Haystack." The Silo Restaurant's "as seen on television" signature sandwich is a hearty combination of sliced ribeye steak, melted mozzarella and crispy potato sticks, topped with mayo and loaded into a fresh soft hoagie roll. It's reason enough to just hibernate in between Silo seasons.
Fortunately, the Lewiston waterfront eatery has offered a few preseason operating dates this year.
"Mother Nature has been kind to us and we have been able to get things up and running," business consultant Stacey Sheehan said. "We have some of our best seasoned staff returning along with many new, enthusiastic first-time employees. We are using this next few weeks to allow them practical experience, so they can get up to speed on the unique way we do things.
"It's a little different starting with The Silo than it is working at most other restaurants. Serving 2,000-plus people a day out of a micro-kitchen takes some getting used to, so we like to give them as much time as we can to get comfortable before our official re-opening in May. In the meantime, we never let friends go hungry. So, if you are wandering by and you see activity, come on over and say 'Hi.' If the kitchen is fired up, they are happy to cook for you!
"You can follow us on Facebook for updates, coupons and our operating schedule."
Sheehan said The Silo team is excited about a trio of new programs this summer.
"We are happy to be bringing back all of our fan favorites and are also really excited about our special board," she said. "Customers will be treated to new and exciting specialty burgers and sandwiches each week. Expect unique flavor combinations that will surprise and entertain those who are a little more adventurous.
"We are still offering a great selection of children's meals and have now added ice cream to the kids menu, so each kids meal will now come with a complimentary ice cream for the little guys. A full meal, including drink and dessert for $5.99, is hard to beat.
"The caboose is going to be offering up some terrific treats. Weekly 'Silo Staff Choice Sundaes' will be featured and they won't disappoint. We'll be debuting some amazing new signature ice cream floats and, as always, are offering over 40 flavors of ice cream and our custom custard flavors, too."
Oh, and "The 'Sand Dock Sundae Monster Food Challenge' is back, for those who think they've got what it takes," Sheehan said. That's nine scoops of ice cream and two tons (OK, not literally) of toppings.
The footlong "Haystack."
Christina Crane, sales and marketing manager for the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, said, "There's nothing more enjoyable than enjoying a delicious burger, fries and ice cream on a warm summer day at The Silo!"
Lewiston native John McEvoy said, "The Silo features two of the most delicious attractions in Lewiston: the 'Haystack' sandwich and the view of the Niagara River!"
Aaron Dey of PYRA.org said, "This wonderful example of architectural revitalization and re-use is the first thing you notice when you see The Silo Restaurant and its unique railcar ice cream shop. It's not the last though, as its wonderful culinary offerings, which have appeared on food channels, are only matched by its incredible view of the mighty Niagara. It sits on its shores of this beautiful river where Niagara Falls started some 12,000 years ago as an anchor to Lewiston's waterfront experience."
The Silo is all of the above - but it's more than just a pretty face, or an attractive waterfront location, to be specific. Its menu is surprisingly health-conscious. Proprietor Alan Hastings has worked hard to find the highest-quality ingredients for each of his offerings. In many cases, his cooks have turned what was once considered "junk food" into appetizing, healthier entrées.
"As always, we have been focused on finding the balance between keeping things affordable, and bringing our customers the quality they want," Sheehan said. "The average consumer has evolved so much over the last few years and we take pride in being aware of that - and working to keep pace with their wants and needs.
"They are educated. They ask us for our sources - if our produce is local, organic; humane, grass-fed, free-range (meat). They are looking for vegetarian or gluten-free options, and are more conscious of what they are eating.
"We could never cut quality, so the result is that you may have to pay a few cents more on the dollar for some of our items: the grass-fed beef; organic buffalo burgers; free-range, steroid- and hormone-free chicken; produce from local farms. But you sit down with your family and feel good about what you are eating, and that seems to matter now more than ever.
"The taste is superior, and you can actually feel good knowing your meal came from the best sources - local sources at every opportunity.
"That seems to be worth it to our customers, but we also know that most people are budget savvy. ... So we encourage our tech-loving friends to keep an eye out on Facebook where we will be bringing you exclusive discounts. Those who prefer to avoid digital platforms will be able to find exclusive coupons printed here in The Sentinel each week. This is part of our aim to continue bringing the best quality ingredients to the table, and to make it as affordable as possible for our local customers to visit us as often as they like!"
The Silo Restaurant is located at 115 N. Water St., Lewiston. Visit online at www.lewistonsilo.com.
On behalf of The Silo Restaurant team, Stacey Sheehan welcomes patrons back for the summer season.