For eight years, Bryan Mecozzi worked on 3648 South Park Ave. with family and friends, aiming to turn the building into a bistro honoring the steel mills that once overshadowed the neighborhood.
Last Tuesday, Mecozzi opened his own place there, called Black Iron Bystro (blackironbystro.com, 240-9830). “We gutted the entire storefront, which used to be my great-uncle's print shop,” said Mecozzi, who is also the chef.
It's dinner only, closed Sunday and Monday, with about 40 seats.
Mecozzi has worked in food service since he was a teenage dishwasher, most recently as Vera Pizzeria's sous chef for about two years.
“We basically decked it out industrial style, building my own light fixtures,” he said. Turn-of-the-century Buffalo was his inspiration for decoration, with images of Bethlehem Steel and the Erie Railroad, he said. Artist Christopher Kameck helped design interior and exterior features, he said. There are no televisions, and Mecozzi expects it to stay that way.
There's beer and wine, no hard alcohol, and a small menu aimed at upgrading tavern food. Frites, arancini, grilled cheese, a grilled pork banh mi and scallops are on the current menu. It should change with the seasons, with about four dinner specials a night, he said. Prices range from $7 frites to the $18 scallop entree.
Open: A former ski shop in Williamsville has been turned into a fine dining Italian restaurant called Cugino's, which opened in April.
The building at 6011 Main St. is now a white tablecloth restaurant with a menu focusing on northern Italian cuisine, said Brandon Anibal, service manager. Owner Frank Cirikovic also operates two restaurants in Connecticut, Anibal said.
Cugino's plans to be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. It has 100 seats, 60 at tables, 12 at the bar, and 28 on the patio. Call 633-8432 for reservations, or view the menu at cuginositalianrestaurant.com.
Open: Sidelines Sports Bar and Grill, the sports bar that replaced King's Court, opened March 13 at 189 Delaware Ave.
The renovated interior includes 13 televisions, and a full bar, said Hillary Collura, who owns place with brother-in-law Adam Collura. There's 78 seats inside, plus standing room, with a lunch, dinner and late-night menu, and Sunday brunch.
Chef George Newman's menu includes finger food like chicken wings, burgers and sandwiches, and entrees like baby back ribs and Buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese. There's also warm Cracker Jacks caramel-coated popcorn among the bar snacks.
Opening: Bailey O'Riley's Village Pub, which is replacing the Lewiston Village Pub at 840 Center St., is expected to open on July 1.
Owner Christopher MacKenzie said that after the former business had problems with underage drinkers, he's looking for an older clientele. “When I applied for my liquor license I made a point of going to the chief of police and told him that there won't be any minors in here,” said MacKenzie.
He said construction is underway to give the pub a fresh look, including removing the old bar and repairing the slanting floor. He named it Bailey O'Riley's after his 13-year-old son Riley and 17-year-old daughter, Bailey, MacKenzie said.
The food menu will include Irish and Scottish cuisine, he said. “It's going to be a little more relaxed and laid back.”
Serving: This Saturday, Becker Farms plans to add a lunch menu based on local ingredients to offerings at its Gasport complex, at 3724 Quaker Road.
It'll be served in the Becker Brewing Co., building, which serves beer made for the company by Flying Bison, as well as wine from Vizcarra Vineyards, Becker Farms' wine-making arm.
“There isn't a lot of lunch options for people going on the Niagara Wine Trail, so this is a good option for them,” said tasting room manager Joe Hotchkiss. Becker Farms' Vizcarra Vineyards is often the first or last stop for people visiting the group of Niagara County winemakers, he said.
The preliminary lunch menu includes a bacon blue cheese sandwich, with bacon made from Becker Farms' own pigs. There's also bacon toffee.
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