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Raclettes, French melted cheese specialist, opens next week

Raclettes, a French-centered restaurant with a specialty of melted cheese, plans to open March 21.

The restaurant, at 537 Main St., will be open for lunch on weekdays to start, and dinner seven days a week. Sunday brunch should start after Easter, owner Sandra Wilkins said, and breakfast service should follow. Wilkins and her husband Paul bought the building in 2011, and have been working on the restaurant for more than a year, slowed by Main Street reconstruction.

The small restaurant will offer 60 seats inside, including 15 at the bar, and a 20-seat rear courtyard for use in good weather. Wine, craft beer, a full bar and coffee will be available.

Lunch ($8-$14) will include crepes, baguette sandwiches, hot sandwiches like the bechamel-covered croque monsieur, and grab-and-go options for people who aren’t looking to sit down.

Dinner dishes ($14-$25) will include fondue, coq au vin (chicken braised in wine), boeuf bourguignon (beef braised in wine) and a vegetarian-friendly leek and potato bouillabaisse. Cassoulet, the bean and meat casserole, will be offered Friday and Saturday, scaled to feed two, for $50.

An example of a raclette, which is popular in Switzerland and France. (Flickr/francapicc)

An example of a raclette, which is popular in Switzerland and France. Raclettes in Buffalo may not serve this style in particular. (Flickr/francapicc)

Then there’s raclette, the cheese-based dish served in France and Switzerland. Cow’s milk cheese is melted or broiled and served on galettes, small buckwheat crepes, with a wide range of toppings. Raclettes will serve the dish, with cheeses and combinations of toppings, with cheese melted on a tabletop grill pan. Combinations meant for one person run $18 to $25, with a salad.

Executive Chef Carnall Paulk has extensive experience in local kitchens, including Left Bank and Coco, Wilkins said. Kathleen Novelli, Wilkins’ sister, will be the restaurant’s general manager.

Paris probably has 100 raclette restaurants, Wilkins said. “There’s only three raclette restaurants in the United States, two in New York City and one in San Francisco,” said Wilkins. “Until Monday.”

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