Two Utica restaurants surprised customers on Saturday with a free bill, in hopes that they always remember the events that happened on September 11th, 2001.

"Today in lieu of your bill, you are receiving this card, along with an American flag. All that we ask is that you think back to this day 20 years ago and remember the sacrifices that were made, the hardships that ensued, and the ubiquitous patriotism that represents who we are as Americans."

WIBX received messages from several listeners on Saturday.

"Just wanted to let you guys know Babe’s and Aqua-Vino gave everyone who came into their restaurants free lunch / dinner ALL DAY on 911," a listener messaged through the WIBX 950 APP.  "Simply amazing that they would do that and definitely need a shout out on Monday,"

Babes, owned by Mohawk Valley Gardens which also operates food service for the Utica Comets and Adirondack Bank Center, and Aqua Vino, owned by former NHL and Olympic goalie Robert Esche, didn't advertise the gesture and only told customers as they were given their bill after they had finished their meal. All food on the bill was "no charged" no matter the size of the party, and customers were only asked to pay for alcoholic beverages.

The bill after dinner at Babes on Saturday night, September 11, 2021. Photo by Bill Keeler / TSM

"We wanted to do something significant that would really stick in people's minds," said Jeff Stone, president of ORB Food & Beverage on Sunday. "We specifically didn't advertise it. Our goal was to send a lasting message that we all can never forget what happened on that day 20 years ago." Babes at Harbor Point and Aqua Vino restaurants continued to surprise customers with the free bill, flag and 9/11 remembrance card through the day on Saturday from their opening through the dinner service.

Photo by Bill Keeler / TSM

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