By Andrew Z. Galarneau
One of the most unusual fast-serve restaurant concepts to show up recently has emerged in the food court at the Eastern Hills Mall in Clarence.
If I said it was Chinese cooks who grew up in Brazil, no one would blame you for expecting an exotic menu.
But Tom and Betty Chung’s specialty is right in the heart of down-home Americana: pies.
Piemania (4545 Transit Road, Clarence, 817-6702) serves up handmade pies in savory and sweet categories, boasting a buttery, flaky crust. (Photos courtesy of Piemania.)
The savory numbers, from beef and chicken pot pie, to spinach and cheese and Buffalo chicken, are $5.99 with a side salad.
Then there’s a shepherd’s pie ($6.99) with beef and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes.
The sweet choices range from apple ($4.99) to custard crumble ($3.50) and strawberry ($2.75).
The Chungs left China in the 1960s during the Cultural Revolution and settled in Sao Paolo, Brazil, where they were raised, said Tiffany Huebel, their daughter. The came to the U.S. about 10 years ago, lived in Florida and California, and decided to settle in Buffalo because they like the cold, among other reasons, she said.
Her mother had dreamed for years of opening a pie store, Huebel said, and last year, she did. “Brazilians really enjoy pies with a light and flaky consistency, very much like the Europeans,” Huebel said.
The Chungs are considering two Brazilian treats for the menu, a pie-like pastry dish called empada, filled with chicken and a homemade Brazilian style “cream cheese,” and coxinha, a fried chicken fritter. At present those two items are special order only.
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