The Big Chew

Ross Runfola grew up in a family of dog people, and even adopted a pooch from the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals some years back.

So when Runfola got a chance to make his restaurant, La Dolce Vita (1472 Hertel Ave., 446-5690,, part of the SPCA's The Big Chew fundraiser, he was on it like a beagle on a bone.

On Tuesday, La Dolce Vita and more than 25 local restaurants will contribute 25 percent or more of their food receipts to the SPCA of Erie County. Participating businesses include Merge on Delaware Avenue, J.P. Bullfeather's and Solé on Elmwood Avenue, Coco on Main Street, Citta di Militello in Williamsville, Sonoma Grille in Amherst and Hamburg's Coyote Café. (See the whole list by clicking through

The fundraiser isn't limited to dinner. Williamsville ice cream specialist Sweet Jenny's will donate 25 percent of each sundae sold, and Amherst chocolatier Oh Pour L'Amour du Chocolat will kick in a similar slice of its day's proceeds.

Having been involved all three years of The Big Chew, Runfola said, it's clearly growing in popularity. "The SPCA is just a great organization, so I wanted to do whatever I could do to help."

– Andrew Z. Galarneau