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Restaurant Notes: Aperitivo, Buffalo Eats, Washington Market

Nick Klentos, whose family ran the Wehrle Diner until selling it last year, has opened Aperitivo, a new upscale casual place on Transit Road.

The 85-seat restaurant at 9430 Transit Road, East Amherst, opened for business in a recently built plaza on April 14.

It’s not an Italian restaurant, despite the name, Klentos said. It’s a New American restaurant with some Mediterranean influence, Klentos said. That translates to Italian dishes like arancini ($9) and artichokes francaise ($11) but also some Greek touches he continued from the Wehrle, like a lamb chops appetizer with tzatziki ($13), and an open-faced chicken souvlaki ($11).

Entrees include gnocchi Bolognese ($20), salmon with feta orzo ($21) and a 12-ounce ribeye steak with fingerling potatoes and asparagus ($28), the most expensive dish on the menu.

New restaurant from former Wehrle diner owner is open in East Amherst. (Photo: Aperitivo)

New restaurant from former Wehrle diner owner is open in East Amherst. (Photo: Aperitivo)

Vegetarian and vegan dishes have their own section, including lentil-mushroom ragout with grilled orange-ginger tofu ($8) and zucchini stuffed with quinoa, shiitakes and cashews ($9).

Aperitivo has a full bar and eight taps, half pouring locally brewed beers.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner every day but Sunday. Phone: 689-3663. Its menu can be read at aperitivorestaurant.com.

“If you want to spend $50 on a bottle of wine and an $80 steak, you should go to Russell’s, not my place,” Klentos said. “This is an everyday place, come when you want a glass of wine and something to eat.”

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Buffalo Eats signs off: Buffalo food bloggers Donnie Burtless and Alli Suriani are mothballing the BuffaloEats.org website, which the couple founded in 2009 and built into Buffalo’s leading independent food resource.

With help from a crew of contributors, the husband-and-wife team published 1,700 blog posts, mostly about restaurants and food in Western New York. In addition, Burtless and local restaurant activist Christa Glennie Seychew have recorded more than 150 episodes of Grain of Salt, a podcast focusing on the Buffalo restaurant scene.

Donnie Burtless, left, and his wife, Alli Suriani, have shut down the popular Buffalo Eats food blog.

Donnie Burtless, left, and his wife, Alli Suriani, have shut down the popular Buffalo Eats food blog.

Earlier this year, a loss of energy had them considering mothballing the site. Then Suriani learned she was pregnant with the couple’s first child. “We were talking about closing up shop way before the baby news came along but that gave us the extra push we needed,” they wrote in an April 25 announcement.

The site and its content will remain online for now, and they plan to share occasional articles. Burtless will also continue the podcast, and they plan to continue posting photographs and comments to their social media accounts. Blogger Michael Chelus will continue the Sunday restaurant news roundup on his blog, Nittany Epicurean.

But the Buffalo Eats site is going dormant. “Running this blog has been nothing short of awesome,” they wrote. “It has changed our life completely and we have loved every single second of it.”

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Market makeover: Downtown grocery and food emporium Washington Market is getting a makeover from the son of its previous owners.

Michael Khoury has spent recent months changing the 461 Ellicott St. store to better serve a new wave of downtown dwellers. “We’re giving the place a facelift, painting it and changing the lighting,” he said.

Sandwiches and salad bar offerings will continue. Changes so far include expanding the store’s grocery stock in a practical direction, he said. “I’m trying to offer the basic essentials that people need for their apartments, while trying to keep it artisan and natural if I can,” he said.

Cleaning supplies and bath products have joined the edible groceries. He’s changing his stock toward more everyday items, he said, and away from esoteric items “like cans of caviar or $200 bottles of balsamic vinegar.”

There’s more things like pastas, pasta sauces, and Bob’s Red Mill grains “like quinoa or good rice, so people can cook after work,” Khoury said.

Taps in the rebooted Washington Market will dispense four local craft beers, Leonard Oakes wine, and Khoury kombucha. (Photo: Washington Market)

Taps in the rebooted Washington Market will dispense four local craft beers, Leonard Oakes wine, and Khoury kombucha. (Photo: Washington Market)

He plans to install a cooler to offer more fresh produce and dairy products. He’s already added a grab-and-go cooler so people can get a salad or sandwich quickly. “I’m looking to add veggie options like salads with beets and quinoa, and soba noodles,” Khoury said. The in-house coffee bar is using beans from Gimme! Coffee and Clarence’s Goodrich Coffee now.

He plans to install six taps, four offering local beers, which customers can order by the pint with food, or by the growler fill-up. The fifth tap will be for Leonard Oakes wine, and the sixth for kombucha, which he makes himself.

Khoury’s spent most of his adult life working for a bond portfolio analytics software company, but in three years of living in Brooklyn he marveled at places like Forager’s Market, Brooklyn Kitchen and Brooklyn Larder. He decided to take over the market because “food is a passion of mine,” he said. “I think it really comes down to that.”

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Dog Bar’s 75th: The Dog Bar, a West Falls restaurant offering “casual fine dining in an area museum,” celebrates its 75th anniversary on Sunday.

The restaurant at 1913 Davis Road was opened in 1941 by Martha and Gus Schenne, in a historic West Falls building that has been a tavern or hotel for nearly two centuries. Their son Ronald Schenne and his wife, Linda, are the current owners, and they have maintained the steakhouse and seafood menu, including its famed loin lamb chops.

Another thing that hasn’t changed is the barroom was decorated in a canine theme, which contributed to its name 75 years ago. Phone: 652-5550.

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Breakfast truck debuts: You Crack Me Up food truck, offering breakfast all day, started serving food to customers earlier this month.

The truck is owned and operated by Diane Smith, formerly of Two Sisters Café in Orchard Park.

Its menu includes $7 breakfasts including omelets, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, muffins and quiche. The truck’s specialty, dubbed Yolko Moono, is shaved ribeye steak, provolone cheese, and a fried egg with lime chipotle hollandaise sauce, on a Costanzo’s brioche bun.

You Crack Me Up food truck started offering breakfast-all-the-time menu in early April. (Photo: You Crack Me Up)

You Crack Me Up food truck started offering breakfast-all-the-time menu in early April. (Photo: You Crack Me Up)

In a decade of serving people breakfast and lunch, Smith said, she learned that people crave breakfast regardless of the hour. “I was only open until 2, and I found out that people wanted breakfast, even if they came in at 1:30.” So when she decided to simplify her business to a truck, breakfast was an obvious choice, she said.

The truck’s menu is posted at youcrackmeuptruck.com. She’ll be adding dates to the website’s calendar, she said, and You Crack Me Up will be at Flying Bison, 840 Seneca St., every other Tuesday starting May 3.

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Theodore’s sites seized: All three Theodore’s Original Red Hots locations were seized Thursday for nonpayment of taxes, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finances said.

The restaurants were locked and marked with notices of the seizure Thursday. The state says the business has four sales tax warrants, totaling $123,333, which cover a period from February to November last year.

Theodore and Beth Liaros started the Theodore’s chain in 2011 after being ousted from their positions at their family’s business, Ted’s Hot Dogs. The stores are located on Grand Island Boulevard in Grand Island, Union Road in Cheektowaga and Transit Road in Amherst.

“Seizing a business is always the last resort,” James Gazzale, a tax department spokesman, said Friday. “We are constantly in communication with owners and long before this becomes a reality they are well aware that the business could be seized if the debt is not resolved.”

The tax department said it would continue to work with the owners to resolve the tax bill.

Theodore and Beth Liaros could not be reached to comment, but Theodore posted a statement to Facebook saying he had been paying off his tax debt, but that the state wouldn’t allow him to set up a payment plan. – Samantha Christmann

Send restaurant news to agalarneau@buffnews.com

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