Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Love letters to Bistro Europa: as tiny groundbreaking Buffalo restaurant closes, fans remember

Cherry soup at bistro europa

Cold cherry soup at Bistro Europa, only while the Niagara cherries were in season.

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

The day it closes Bistro Europa, the 28-seat restaurant that had an outsized impact on the Buffalo restaurant scene, is getting lovies from its acolytes.

Check them out in full on Facebook.

Tom Pryzbalak wrote:

I got three years of culinary education in the basement of an old Subway Restaurant on Elmwood Avenue. 

Today we bid a fond farewell to the little bistro that could. Not gone forever - just growing with its owners into what it should be, and what they deserve. 

I posted about a year ago that Bistro Europa was the best kept secret in Buffalo. I said "Get there now, because when this place ends up on the front cover of a magazine, you're gonna want to say "I ate crispy pig ears at that joint while the Owner sang along to Wu-Tang behind this weird curtain in this little tiny restaurant. You wouldn't believe it." 

Chef James Roberts of Park Country Club enumerated a few of his favorite things about Ellen and Steve Gedra's restaurant:

"3.) being able to answer the question of "you're a chef, whats your favorite restaurant in town" with "what do you mean you have never been to europa?" every single time.
4.) pushups on the barmat at 3 am
5.) having to do pushups on the bar mat at 5am to get tmeadow giuanciale carbonara at 6am"

… only to be topped by:

"19.) being able to bring any chef, national or local, of any level into that place, and have them feel instantly at home with the shop talk and cook stories
20.) offering the guy next to you a bite of your dish, off your fork, and having it be okay that he takes it."

And this, from Mary Mammoser Machina:

Then I found out that they do a Pig Head dinner! YES a must do for my husband..... I called to find out info about the Pig Head dinner before going into work one day.... I talked to Chef Steve on the phone for about 20 minutes about it.... and I actually got HIGH listening to this guy and his passion for cooking and the wonderfulness of the PIG. .... we still have the pig skull ....

Who else would let me come in on a busy Saturday night and take pictures?????

Where else would you go and hear the Chef singing and making strange noises in the kitchen.... LOL.... this was a first for me..... and I have grown to love the people and the food.....

I will miss the little intimate place known as Bistro Europa.... but, I'm so excited to see what is going to happen with "Black Sheep". I know that this place is going to ROCK and go above and beyond Steve and Ellen's wildest dreams.

The Black Sheep Restaurant is expected to open later in 2014. No pressure.



Chef Edward Forster shares thoughts on The Workshop, recipe for beef tartare with maple pickled shallots

Edward Forster makes beef tartare with maple pickled shallots at Craving

Maple syrup sweetens pickled shallots in Edward Forster's beef tartare with St. Agur gelato. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Buffalo News Refresh editor Scott Scanlon caught up with chef-in-waiting Edward Forster between gigs to talk to him about his pop-up series The Workshop, using maple syrup as an ingredient, and what dish he actually lives on when he's at home.

Check out their conversation here, with the recipe for Forster's tartare, with St. Agur gelato and maple pickled shallots.


Rochester restaurant owners opening craft-cocktail-centered Blood and Sand in Theater District

Jon Karel of The Revelry

Jon Karel of The Revelry, and the upcoming Blood and Sand in Buffalo (Photo

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Jon Karel is coming back to Buffalo, as an owner of a cocktail-centric Theater District restaurant.

Josh Miles, an owner of The Revelry in Rochester, said the Revelry crew is opening a new restaurant this summer in Buffalo's Theater District. It'll be called Blood and Sand, after a classic cocktail.

It should open mid-summer, Miles said, declining to give the address. It'll be 20-30 bar seats and 50 dining seats. "We are a cocktail bar with a focus on ways of the past, blended with the new," he said. The dining menu is going to be "retold classics," he said, "some of the things we've come to love in Western New York as retold by our chef."

Karel will be one of the owners, and run the drinks operation, he said. Karel, a progenitor of Buffalo's craft cocktail movement at Vera Pizzeria, left last year to be The Revelry's bar manager. 

"The right opportunity came around, and we found a great spot," said Miles. "Jon Karel is coming back to Buffalo, and he is one of my business partners in the deal. He is going to be running the cocktail program, and craft the entire thing." 

Karel will continue to curate the cocktail program at The Revelry, Miles said. "We're just looking to grow a branch, if you will."



Lockport pig farmer, brewers oppose law barring turning beermaking byproduct into bacon


T-meadow pigs enjoy apples

 Above: Arden Farm hogs enjoy a pile of fallen apples.

 By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Spent grain from brewing makes good feed for livestock, but a proposed federal law would force brewers to dry it out before it can be used as animal feed. The cost would essentially force brewers to landfill it instead. Similar restrictions on other sources of feed would mean vegetables and fruit that could make wholesome meals for livestock would instead be left to rot.

The Brewers Association, based on Boulder, Colorado, sent out an alert to craft brewers recently noting that the regulation "would require that spent grain for animal feed be dried and prepackaged onsite in a manner that does not touch human hands. There is no evidence that breweries’ spent grains as currently handled are causing any hazards to animals or humans, yet the proposed rules create a burdensome set of regulations to solve a problem that doesn't exist." 

Noah McIntee, the brewmaster at Pearl Street Grill, said Pearl Street used an average of 7,000 pounds of dry grain per month recently. From time to time, T-Meadow and another farm got spent brewery grain from their Buffalo location, for use as feed, he said.

The proposed law would require breweries to buy equipment to dry spent grain before it's used as feed, McIntee said. That would make it significantly more expensive than just throwing it in the Dumpster. "The new regulation wouldn't just be extra red tape, it would stop our practice of supplying farmers with our spent grain due to prohibitively high costs in equipment and time," he said.

Matthew Kahn, president of Big Ditch Brewing, whose brewery is currently under construction, said "we thought we had a plan, in terms of what to do with our spent grain," he said. There should be enough generated by Buffalo brewers for a spent grain pickup for area farmers to make economic sense, he said. "If we need to dry the grain first, that would be cost-prohibitive."

Spent grain and other feed sources can be important to local farmers, according to Rich Tilyou, who runs T-Meadow Farm in Lockport. Every truckload of vegetables, fruit or brewery waste that animals can enjoy is a truckload of feed the farmer doesn't have to buy. That sort of cooperation makes for a more efficient farming community, which benefits eaters and growers alike, he contends.

T-Meadow Farm, which produces celebrated heirloom-breed pork on open pasture, is urging supporters of local farmers and brewers to fight the bill. "It will prohibit feeding wet brewers grains to livestock, and force a wonderful feed source to be landfilled. It also will the end feeding of veggies etc. that can be fed from grocery etc. as it will become regulated to the point of making it cost prohibitive. We all want a safe food supply for both humans and livestock, but this is ridiculous."

You have until March 31 to voice your opinion, then the public comment period ends.

Here's the form for commenting on the FDA site.

Here's the contact form for U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer.


Buffalo's Lloyd taco truck wins 'Taco of the year' honors in nationwide poll

Lloyd skinny Thai special tacos

Above: Lloyd's Skinny Thai taco, with fried tofu, Asian pickles, fresh radish, is a popular vegan variety.

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

After counting more than 25,000 votes, food truck industry site has crowned Buffalo's Lloyd taco trucks the 2014 Food Truck Taco of the Year. Here's the announcement.



D'Avolio Kitchen's new downtown outlet to offer pizzas, salads on Main Street in June

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

Dan Gagliardo is expanding D’Avolio Kitchen’s lunch operations from Williamsville into downtown Buffalo.

Five D’Avolio outlets already offer vinegars, oils, salts and other imported ingredients from the Galleria to Elmwood Avenue. The Main Street Williamsville location started lunch service in 2012, with pizzas, salads, antipasti and sandwiches made to order.

That quick-serve lunch menu will be presented at 535 Main St., near the Hyatt, with a planned opening of June 1, Gagliardo said.

The 2,000 square foot place will have seating for 49, he said. It’ll offer the retail oil, vinegars and such, but also toss a quick-serve Italian offering into the competitive downtown lunch arena.

Diners can order their lunch by selecting their own salad and pizza toppings by iPad and transmitting the order to the kitchen. Or they can bring their order form to the counter, and either way servers will deliver the food. Food in 10 minutes is the goal, he said. Salads, sandwiches and antipasti are $9.95, and 12-inch square Roman style pizzas are $10.95

He’ll seek a beer and wine license, but will open without it, Gagliardo said. He’s bought the former Palace of Dosas building, 656 Millersport Highway, Amherst, to use as a commissary for now. That building might eventually be a retail location as well, but will remain the D’Avolio home base kitchen for now.

“Our vegetables are made fresh that day, and our rolls are made fresh,” he said. If we run out, we run out,” Gagliardo said. “Everything from sauces to sausage is homemade.” 


After crash, Schwabl's owners work to reopen West Seneca beef on weck landmark

Schwabl's beef on weck

By Andrew Z. Galarneau

On Dec. 2, the century-old building holding Schwabl’s Restaurant was struck by a sports utility vehicle going 61 miles per hour.

As the drywall work continues, Schwabl’s owners Cheryl and Gene Staychock aren’t sure when the 176-year-old restaurant will reopen. They’re just sure it will.  

The force of the collision knocked the entire building a few inches sideways, cracked nearly every drywall joint and snapped beams. Bringing the repaired building up to code forced the replacement of damaged or outdated electrical and plumbing systems.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Staychock said. “But we feel like it’s got to be done right, not just slapped together. We’re going to end up with basically a brand new restaurant on the inside.”

It might take months, but Schwabl’s beef on weck will be back, she said. The families employed at the restaurant can’t wait to get back to work, she said. Then there’s all the neighbors she hasn’t seen. “I miss my customers,” she said.


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 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.


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 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.




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


« Older Entries Newer Entries »