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New year-round waterfront restaurant opening at Erie Basin Marina

New Year’s Eve is bringing a year-round fine-dining restaurant to Erie Basin Marina.

William K’s, with a sleek, sophisticated interior and one of the region’s best dining views of Lake Erie, will feature brick oven pizzas, seafood and meats, and craft cocktails.

“This is one of the best waterfront views of any business on the waterfront,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said Wednesday as he formally unveiled the restaurant along with proprietor Molly Koessler, who operates the Hatch in the same building. She named the restaurant for her husband, who formerly owned the Park Lane Restaurant and Harry’s Harbour Place.

“We all know there are not a lot of restaurants on our waterfront, but I believe that with all the excitement and all the people coming downtown that we will be hugely successful,” Koessler said.

A lot of people, including residents in the nearby Rivermist townhouses, have been asking for sit-in dining at the marina, she said. The Hatch caters to more casual eating, including hot dogs and ice cream.

The 64-seat restaurant’s kitchen boasts a custom-made, wood-burning and gas-assisted brick oven. Seven pizzas, all priced at $16, are offered on the menu, including margherita, parma, pepperoni and mushroom.

That menu is expected to change daily, but opening day shows appetizers that include Matunuck oysters, roasted beets and grilled Spanish octopus. Prime New York strip, grilled lamb leg fillet and tagliatelle, which features scallops, will be among the entrees. There are also 36-ounce porterhouse steaks, for $98, and fire-roasted Giannone chicken, for $45.

The chef is Todd Lesakowski, who opened several restaurants in Boston, including Boston Chops, a highly touted steakhouse, before returning to his native Buffalo.

The walls in the restaurant are plum, cream and light green. Tasteful artwork is displayed, and a hardboard panel features a wave motif that extends to an illuminated area at the bar.

A concrete patio, with a fire pit, is scheduled to open in March, weather permitting. The restaurant will open during the winter months at 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and extend its hours for brunch and lunch seven days a week beginning in the spring.

The restaurant was designed by Didonato & Associates. The city Department of Public Works made the needed infrastructure improvements.

The project was a public-private partnership. The city, which owns the building, spent $900,000, and Koessler said she and her husband spent “a few hundred thousand” on the interior. Plans were unveiled in May.

“We are working hard to build a city of opportunity for all people in the City of Buffalo, and to make sure we have options and amenities that will attract people to our great city,” the mayor said. “William K’s is certainly one of those amenities that will attract additional people to the downtown waterfront.”

The project is part of a $3.7 million investment in the marina over the past 10 years. Other recently completed projects include the $640,000 Ice Cream Stand & Clam Bar, and $1.1 million for a new boardwalk, handicapped-accessible restrooms and security gates for boaters.

Brown noted the restaurant should be the beneficiary of increased foot traffic between Canalside and the marina.

“The Erie Basin Marina has long been one of the most popular destinations in downtown Buffalo and, with the addition of William K’s, it will continue to be. It will add tremendous sizzle with the great food offerings they are going to provide.”


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