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Council backs city engineer on restaurant

Plans for a new restaurant in an old yacht club -- one of two waterfront restaurants expected to open this summer -- moved ahead Tuesday as the Common Council accepted the city engineer's finding that there would be no adverse environmental impacts.

Work will soon begin on the city's part of the project -- the parking lot, pump station and roof -- at and around the former Niagara River Yacht Club on River Road, next to Gratwick Park.

The California-based Specialty Restaurants will be in charge of renovating the clubhouse as part of a lease arrangement with the city, which owns the building.

The goal for opening the place tentatively named "Lumberjacks" is sometime in July, said Mayor Robert Ortt, who recently met with a Specialty representative.

Another new waterfront restaurant, Remington Tavern, inside the renovated Remington Lofts complex along the Erie Canal, may open in mid-July, around the time Canal Fest begins, Ortt said.

This new restaurant has been eagerly anticipated because of the reputation of its owners, the chefs of two popular Buffalo restaurants, Hutch's and Tempo.

"I'm thrilled," Ortt said of the Remington Tavern. "It's going to be a top, high-end restaurant."

Also at the meeting, high school student winners of a 9/1 1 memorial design contest were announced. Mitch Mistriner and Mike Carroll collaborated on a pentagon-shaped memorial that the city will build a around a three-foot portion of a steel I-beam salvaged from the World Trade Center site in New York City.

Ortt had sent in a request for a piece of the material from the buildings destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, after reading a story in the New York Times about the Port Authority's plans to give some away. The student-designed memorial will be developed with help from City Engineer Dale Marshall and will go up near Fire Department headquarters on Zimmerman Street.

"You are going to have a seat right at the table and make this a reality," Ortt told a smiling Mistriner.