By Andrew Z. Galarneau
Daniel Johengen, chef-owner of top-rated Southtowns restaurant Daniels, is retiring after dinner Sept. 14.
“It’s just time,” said Johengen, whose Hamburg restaurant (174 Buffalo St., Hamburg, daniels-restaurant.com, 648-6554) has consistently been rated among the best in Western New York. “We’re old and tired. I’m not that old, I’m 58, but we’re tired. It’s been 23 years.”
Since 1990, Johengen and his wife Debbie have worked together to serve customers. “It’s been a great run,” Johengen said. The Johengens’ son and daughter are getting married in coming months, too. “We just decided it was time to take it easy.”
The couple thought they had a buyer for the business and the property, he said, but it fell through. They’re still done. “We’re still pursuing plans to sell the business and the property, and move on with our lives.”
There’s only a few tables left. “I’m not totally booked every single night but we’re getting there.”
What will the chef do on Sept. 15, after a life of cooking 14 hours and more a day?
“I don’t know yet. Everybody asks me that,” Johengen said. “I’ve spent 23 years just getting ready for the next day at 5 o’clock. That’s all I’ve been doing for 23 years. So I don’t know.”
“Decompress for a while, and go from there.”
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