The Radicchio's Red Glare

Within the space of a few seconds on September 11, the world changed. For one restaurant and its hundreds of staffers, the world came to a horrific end. Windows on the World, the internationally renowned restaurant capping the World Trade Center, was reduced from its perch 107 stories over the city to nothing but rubble and flames.

The restaurant's destruction caused 79 deaths, including workers readying Windows on the World, its sisters Greatest Bar on Earth and Wild Blue, plus other employees catering a corporate breakfast. The shudder was so great it has been felt here in Arizona, where local restaurateurs are gathering to participate in a national fund raiser called Windows of Hope.

On October 11, restaurants across the world are being asked to donate at least 10 percent of that evening's sales to the Windows of Hope Family Relief fund, benefiting survivors of the slain employees. Chef Christopher Gross of Christopher's Fermier has been selected by the international board to head up local efforts.

This is an opportunity for Valley diners to support our fallen friends while also supporting what was always the goal of Windows on the World since it opened in 1976: a first-class dining experience. Participating restaurants will offer such extras as special bottles of wine donated by local vendors, centerpieces for purchase, and specialty menus. Chefs also plan to make available other fund-raising events, such as donating dinners conducted in private homes, private wine tastings and private cooking lessons. Many restaurants anticipate offering 100 percent of their proceeds.

Though thousands of miles away, the New York restaurant scene has a significant effect on our Valley's dining landscape. Many of our notable chefs benefit from association with the Culinary Institute of America, the James Beard Foundation and other important East Coast organizations.

For information on Windows of Hope activities, or to participate as a restaurant, winery or other vendor, call 602-522-2234.

Another Worthy Fund RA-iser: Joining in the local effort to help New York recover, RA Sushi Bars Valleywide donated 100 percent of their proceeds from last Sunday to the American Red Cross. More than $34,000 was raised.

Servers, sushi chefs, busboys and bartenders donated their tips, and several of RA's investors supplemented the contribution.


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