Black Swan seeks to create a comfortable space in former Cozumel - The Buffalo News
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Black Swan seeks to create a comfortable space in former Cozumel

Black Swan, the restaurant replacing Cozumel, plans to open this summer with a sophisticated lounge-style place with small plates and craft cocktails.

Owners Monique Fortunato-Lester and husband Bryan Lester, a partner at Vera Pizzeria, are busy working out the details at 153 Elmwood Ave. “We’re hoping to be open by July or August, mid- to late summer,” she said.

“We’re creating a place for the young professional population of Buffalo to dine and drink, Fortunato-Lester said. “My husband and I travel a lot, and we’ve noticed that this whole lounge philosophy is really big in places like New York, Chicago, Toronto, and there’s nothing like it in Buffalo right now.”

What’s the lounge philosophy?

“What we want to do is create a place that’s really relaxing chic, and modern, where you can sit back on a comfortable couch and enjoy a cocktail,” she said. Black Swan will be putting comfortable outdoor furniture on its spacious patio, Fortunato-Lester said.

It’ll seat about 40 in the lounge, 15 at high tables in the bar area, and another 12 at the bar.

At present the menu includes small plates and gourmet bites. They’re not sure about full entrées. They’re poring over every detail, she said. “Our couches are going to be custom made for comfort and style.”

Fortunato-Lester said Black Swan will aim to fill a gap in the city’s restaurant offerings. “There’s really no place in Buffalo where you can go and kick back in a lounge setting and enjoy gourmet food and craft cocktails like that.”


Named after a type of Ethiopian wolf, Theas will offer Ethiopian cuisine at 634 Main St., in East Aurora.

Opening Tuesday, it’ll be next-door neighbors to Medici House, the former Tantalus, longtime flagship of East Aurora restaurateurs Laurie Kutas and John Rooney.

After cooking Ethiopian at home for years, and getting it during their travels to Washington, D.C., Toronto and other destinations, they decided it was time to offer the African cuisine to the Southtowns.

Rooney said nothing will change at Medici House. The pair has long harbored dreams of an Ethiopian place, and with two Ethiopian places open in Buffalo, it seemed like the right time. “We felt that the community is accepting it, so it’s probably our time,” he said. “We’re not getting any younger, either.”

Theas will offer lunch and dinner seven days a week, 40 to 50 seats, and a full bar, he said.

The menu will be vegan and vegetarian intensive, with extensive vegetable, greens and legume offerings in addition to meat dishes, Rooney said. (He noted that Theas is already fully reserved for the opening day, April 21.)

Closing: Brodo has closed. The restaurant, at 4548 Main St. in Snyder, was known for its soup offerings.

Owner Elaine Greco said she was retiring to spend more time with her family. She offered her loyal patrons her sincere thanks.

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