Downtown Italian Chef’s adds pizza to the mix - The Buffalo News

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Downtown Italian Chef’s adds pizza to the mix

For all the years that Chef’s has been known as an Italian red-sauce haven in downtown Buffalo, one dish you could never find on its extensive menu was pizza.

Chicken livers? Dandelion salad? Check. But not the most ubiquitous Italian-American specialty of all.

That changed last month, with the opening of Chef’s Garage Pizza, next door to the restaurant (291 Seneca St., 854-0592). It’s so named because it’s been set up in a section of the former Buffalo police garage.

“We do pizza for our banquets, and people were raving about it,’ said Chef’s owner Lou Billitier Jr. “We had a soft winter, and when I was wondering what else we could do, I thought, ‘Everybody loves our pizza.’ ”

One difference is that instead of standard pizza dough, “we’re using our bread dough,” he said. “We’re using more yeast and milk powder like we do in our bread, so it rises more.”

It’s take-out only for now. You can get it at Chef’s drive-through or pick it up, but you can’t order it at the restaurant. At least for now. “I think we’re going to start residential delivery,” Billitier said. “We’re probably going to start rolling it out.”

You can see the menu at

The menu includes a “Goo Morning” breakfast pizza designed by Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robbie Takac, with scrambled eggs, ham, mushrooms, cheddar cheese and bacon. Chef’s donates $1 for each one sold to Takac’s Music Is Art foundation, Billitier said.

But the oddest number on the menu is the salad pizza. Chef’s antipasto – with lettuce, chickpeas, capicolla, salami, pimentos, parsley and more, is piled on a pizza crust. Then Chef’s Italian dressing and mozzarella cheese is added before it’s baked. “It’s a hot salad,” he said. “I’m telling you, it’s pretty good. We’ve gotten mostly good reviews so far.”


Allen Burger Venture, or A.B.V., won’t be unveiling Mike Shatzel’s world-class beer-and-burgers design at 175 Allen St. before late July.

The plan is to offer 18 tap beers, and four tap wines, which might make A.B.V. the first place in Buffalo to run tap wines, said general manager Dino DeBell. There’ll be a menu of 15 to 20 burgers, including grass-fed choices, and hopefully local pork in the form of pork burgers and sausage. “It’s a burger and beer joint, as simple as that,” DeBell said. “Late July or early August.”

Heavy metal bassist and bartender Johny Chow will be the general manager, DeBell said. Chow might be better known for his four-stringed work with bands like Stone Sour, but he has plenty of experience behind the bar in New York City and Buffalo as well, DeBell said.

Meanwhile, in Williamsville, Shatzel is also working on The Moor Pat, at 78 E. Spring St. at Main Street, described as a beer and bratwurst place.

Opening: Frank Testa and his wife, Sara, are working away on The Public House of Buffalo, at 1206 Hertel Ave., which was formerly Canvas @ 1206.

The plan is to open by mid-July, Frank Testa said. Testa has most recently been a bartender at Fat Bob’s, and Sara works in the front of the house at Kuni’s, he said.

“We are giving the place quite a facelift,” he said. Behind the scenes, he’s also adding a beer cooler and draft lines. The place should seat about 65 at tables, 18 at the bar, and 20 out front in a patio.

What kind of food will it offer? “Everybody says gastropub, so we’re not going to say gastropub,” said Testa. “We’re going to do an elevated pub fare menu.”

A lot of farm-to-table stuff, among other things, Testa elaborated. Farm-to-table has become something of a buzzword, but Testa has real roots in the farming community. “I’m from Chautauqua County,” he said. “My family has been in the farming business for about 200 years.”

Opening: Texas de Brazil, a churrascaria chain featuring all-you-can-eat Brazilian-style grilled meat, has announced its June 24 opening at Cheektowaga’s Galleria.

Planned: Carl Anderson Jr., owner of several Louie’s Texas Red Hots locations, plans to open another on one of the most competitive blocks of Elmwood Avenue. He’s aiming to open the 30-seat store at 1098 Elmwood Ave. by Sept. 1. It will replace Saigon Cafe, which remains open.

Next door to Cole’s and across the street from Pano’s, he’ll compete by offering lots more than hot dogs, Anderson said. The menu will include breakfast from pancakes to omelets, vegetarian options and salads, he said. Plus, it’ll be open 24 hours a day.

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