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Powered by wood-fired oven, dinner service starts at Elm Street Bakery in East Aurora

Apple and blackberry galette at Elm Street Bakery

 

Above: an apple and blackberry galette, one of the wood-fired treats at Elm Street Bakery

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

The Elm Street Bakery has started serving dinner that goes beyond pizza, and the first glimpses are here for all to see. It's fair to say the first take suggests the Southtowns has a new dinner destination, though it's not a classic fine dining emporium. 

These eaters, already fans of the place, didn't give a fig.

Donnie Burtless and Alli Suriani of BuffaloEats.com described their dinner of roasted chicken, stuffed dates, marrowbones, sourdough bread and butter, housemade boudin blanc sausage, mushroom tartine and more here, in words and an extensive photo gallery.

They must have been close to Michael Chelus of Nittany Epicurean, who shared his meal of culatello, mac and cheese, roasted clams, tarte tatin apple pastry and more here.

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BuffaloEats: The last fine time at Bistro Europa, a love story in words and pictures

Dinner 2 008-001

Roasted black sea bass with local podding radish, pistou, fava beans, borage pesto. Not shown: tempura squash blossom. $29. Bistro Europa, July 29, 2013.

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

The folks at BuffaloEats.org stopped by Bistro Europa for one last dinner before its Elmwood incarnation closes March 31.

Check out their appreciation for Bistro Europa, a restaurant where everything was different, except for the name. A place too small to hold the talents of Ellen and Steven Gedra, but too delicious to die.

A restaurant that thrived serving dishes no one could sell in Buffalo, to eaters emboldened to order dishes they'd never even heard of before. Which is the exact opposite of the business plan for most Buffalo restaurants.

They had the housemade charcuterie platter, pig skin fritters, and a paella-like dish called fideos, of smoky chorizo, squid and Manila clams. Aw, just go read the article. And say the rosary for The Black Sheep, the Gedras' new place, to open at 367 Connecticut St. sometime between feels-like-forever and the end of the year.

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Local food blogger explores St. Joseph's Table Sicilian feast at Tappo, in words and pictures

St Josephs Table desserts at Tappo by Michael Chelus

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

If you can make a restaurant buffet meal that reminds people fondly of their youth, and the home cooking of generations, you've achieved something notable. 

Michael Chelus, who blogs at The Nittany Epicurean, brought his family to Tappo (338 Ellicott St., 259-8130), offering its first feast of St. Joseph meal. "They put out authentic, traditional dishes with some modern touches that suited them well," Chelus wrote. "The food was delicious, served hot and made me nostalgic for my youth."

Baccala, calamari, and sfinge, oh my. Here's his detailed, dish-by-dish report in words and pictures

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Mike Shatzel's new Allen Street home to world-class beer and burgers has a name

Building a better burger 2 FOOD_BURGERS_1_SJ

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

The work of transforming the former Quaker Bonnet, 175 Allen St., into Mike Shatzel's new beer and burger entry in Allentown continues.

What's over is the name search. It'll be called Allen Burger Venture, a play on ABV, a term every beer nerd knows. (It means Alcohol By Volume, how strongly intoxicating the beer is.)

Details to come, Shatzel said.

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Buffalo restaurant gets pig roaster out to lure Thursday basketball break crowd

Pasta at osteria 166

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

If you happened to run a restaurant located within a block or two of six hotels in downtown Buffalo, and you wanted to attract attention from hungry diners, you could try a number of things.

You could buy advertising, which might reach the eyes of hotel guests, or not. You could rent a searchlight rig to swivel the night away in front of your place like a movie premiere, but that does nothing for the daylight crowds in town for the big event.

Or, you could roast a pig on a spit outside your place, letting its aroma waft through the neighborhood to tickle the fancy of hungry carnivores. 

That's what Nick Pitillo, who runs Osteria 166 (166 Franklin St., 858-3118) with his wife Kendra, is doing tomorrow. Then he's serving roasted local pork seasoned with Italian spices - garlic, fennel, rosemary - as the centerpiece of a 4:30 p.m. buffet aimed at basketball fans looking for a break.

There's also a pig Friday, and Saturday. The Saturday break time hasn't been set yet, but whenever it is, a pig will be waiting, Pitillo said. The buffet is Thursday and Saturday breaks only.

For $20 it's roast pork, flatiron pizzas, salads, antipasti, house pastas, etc. The sweet pork breeze? That's free.

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Buffalo restaurant loads March Madness menu with UConn cod cakes, duck a l'Orange

March Madness menu at Coco 888 Main St Buffalo NY

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

March Madness started early for Buffalo restaurateurs determined to harvest their share of customers during the quadrennial salmon run of free-spending basketball fans. 

Here's one clever idea: matching dishes to teams, and seeing who's on the menu by the weekend. UConn cod cakes, duck a l'Orange, and Villa Nova are just the beginning. It's at Coco, 888 Main St., 332-1885. Some restaurant kitchens couldn't cover this kind of spread, but Coco's is a pretty safe bet.

Owner Maura Crawford said she came up with the idea last night while her husband was filling out his bracket. As teams get knocked out, the dish gets removed from the next day's offerings. "I didn't order much calamari," Crawford revealed. "I think we'll be selling cod cakes, duck and steak through till Saturday, for sure."

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Head to the Old First Ward for a taste of St. Patrick's Day

You don’t have to be Irish to appreciate a good pub, and you don’t have to be a wino to appreciate cheap booze. Just about everyone celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Buffalo on Monday is a testament to that.

Last week, I visited the Irish Old First Ward on a Forgotten Buffalo Tour (ForgottenBuffalo.com, 833-5211) and did some testifying myself.

If you haven’t taken one of these tavern-centric tours yet, drop everything and sign up now. You’ll board a big, yellow school bus and get intimate with the real history of Buffalo’s working-class neighborhoods.

You’ll visit under appreciated corner watering holes, unique neighborhood landmarks, quirky cultural touchstones and learn the city’s fascinating history as delivered via gut-busting anecdotes from guides Eddy Dobosiewicz and Marty Biniasz. Your cordial fellow tour goers get friendlier and friendlier with every tavern stop.

Here are just four off-the-beaten-path places we visited, where you can go with just $10 in your pocket and have a great time, Monday or any day.

Sláinte!

Cook’s Bar & Grill, 222 Katherine St. Originally built in 1875, this cool little tavern is where Jimmy Griffin launched his campaign for mayor. It’s also one of the few places in town that serves Genesee Bock beer – and for just 2 bucks! Most drinks are $2 and the $3.75 Jameson is as pricey as it gets. Odds are, no one you know has ever heard of this place, but once you’ve been there, you won’t be able to shut up about it. Call 855-8444.

Talty’s, 2056 South Park Ave. This place is always rockin’. There’s live music three nights a week and never a cover charge. When we were there, we got to jam out to the Jony James blues band and cried tipsy tears of joy when the Gordon Highlanders worked their drum and bagpipe magic. Most drinks and shots are $2.50. Top shelf –Jameson, Irish Mist, Crown Royal – is just $3. Prices jump 50 cents on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays to help pay for the bands. What a bargain! Call 825-9279.

Buffalo Irish Center, 245 Abbott Road. A true cultural center – and ground zero on St. Patty’s Day – it’s home to three Irish dance companies, the Buffalo Irish Genealogical Society and the School of Irish Culture.At the bar, there’s live Irish music nearly every weekend. Most beers are 3 bucks, the most expensive glass of wine is $4.25 and you can get a corned beef sandwich with fries for $8. If you really feel like celebrating on Monday, spring for the 18-year-old Jameson for $7.50. Call 825-9535.

South Side Social and Athletic Club, 444 Elk St. A social club founded during Prohibition (guess why), there’s a beautiful bar filled with some of the nicest, most fun patrons you’ll ever meet.
Most beers and well drinks are $2.25 (actually a quarter more for non members, but the bartender might look the other way on your first visit).

The kitchen, run by a workhorse named Al Legros, is out of this world. It serves a $9 fish fry as big as my thigh, featuring some of the tastiest homemade potato and macaroni salads this side of my mother. There’s even a generous kids menu with meals for just $5. Call 825-9264.

- Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Enjoy St. Joseph's Table, a Sicilian feast, in Western New York next week

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

The Sicilian custom of St. Joseph's Table can be anyone's custom, as long as they like fish. The meatless buffet dinner, offered in honor of the man held to be Jesus' guardian, has deep roots in Western New York. Here's a few of the places where it's available next week.

Gigi's Cucina Povera, 981 Kenmore Avenue, Kenmore, 877-8788, 2 p.m.-8 p.m. March 18-20. Reservations suggested, $17.95. 

Tappo, 338 Ellicott St., 259-8130, reservations suggested. Two-hour seatings available at noon, 2, 4 and 8 p.m. (6 p.m. is booked.) March 19. $20, benefits Per Niente. 

Banchetti Banquet Facility, 550 N. French Road, Amherst. March 16 and 19, starting at 4 p.m. Reservations suggested. $18.95 adults, $8.95 children.

Frank's Sunny Italy, 2491 Delaware Ave., 876-5449, 1 p.m.-8 p.m. March 19. No fee, donations to Catholic Charities accepted.

Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar, 253 Allen St., 240-9359, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. March 19. $25, benefits scholarship fund at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute.

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Report: Buffalo restaurants Empire Grill, Toro Tapas Bar, Faherty's up for sale

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Restaurateur Nick Kotrides has put his three Buffalo places on the block, Business First says.

Empire Grill on Hertel Avenue, Toro Tapas Bar on Elmwood, and Faherty's, the bar next door, are for sale.

James Fink reports in Business First:

"Empire has a $1.295 million asking price while Faherty’s has a $700,000 asking price and Toro has a $1.3 million asking price. Interest is strong in all three, although no offers have been made.

All three remain open and fully operational.

Kotrides said the decision to sell is based solely on a personal plan to pare his operations 'by the time I turn 50.' Kotrides turns 48 this year."

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How's this for a Buffalo cabin fever cure: beer, burritos and free live Irish bands

Lloyd's El Gordo gets the green sauce

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

The Lloyd taco truck's El Gordo burrito will be sportin' a bit o' the green tonight at Larkinville.

That's chimi sauce being loving applied in that photograph above, and yes those are tender-crispy cubes of pork, but that's one of 100 flavors on offer tonight. A fleet of 19 food trucks, most kept from selling their wares during Polar Vortex 2: Thundersnow, will be looking to do business as the St. Patrick's Day weekend heats up. 

There will be music, from the likes of McCarthyizm, Crikwater and the Greater Buffalo Firefighters Pipes & Drums. The beer and the food you'll have to buy, but the experience is free. If that don't get you out of your igloo, what will?

It's 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at 745 Seneca St. Details here.

If you get bored you can always look across Swan Street and imagine a night of shuffleboard and experimental beer in the Hydraulic Hearth beer garden this summer.

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