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Restaurant Notes: Schnitzel & Co., Master's Barbecue, La Galera Express, EXPO Market

Vito e Vino, the Transit Road outpost of the Rizzo restaurant group, is being turned into a bigger version of Schnitzel & Co., its German-Swiss concept.

The Italian era at the restaurant, 9210 Transit Road, East Amherst, ended with the close of business Jan. 8. Spaghetti gets swapped out for sausage, schnitzel and potato pancakes next week, as it opens Feb. 8 for dinner.

"Schnitzel has just been crazy, and we have the patio there, we have more parking, we have a banquet room," said owner Michael Rizzo. "Just a lot more opportunity for that place."

The current Schnitzel site, 15 New Road, Amherst, is about two miles away. It will become a different restaurant. What sort hasn't been determined yet, Rizzo said, but the new flavor should be in place before summer.

[RELATED: Schnitzel & Co. review, from 2014]

Vito E Vino in East Amherst will become Schnitzel & Co. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Seating capacity will more than double, with about 50 seats in the old Schnitzel and up to 140 in the Transit Road location. The bar area is larger, and there's also a banquet room. Outside, the parking lot will hold 80 vehicles, up from about 14.

The menu will be larger, too, Rizzo said: "We're expanding it to include more European fare, more Swiss-German dishes, and more American fare." Frikadellen, German meat patties, and stuffed cabbage are on the way. The oven formerly dedicated to pizzas will be putting out fresh-baked pretzels and flatbreads. The restaurant's lineup of German beer will continue as well, and its monthly "Brew Crew" events featuring local breweries will be expanded.

Lunch will start a week or two later, Rizzo said. Also coming soon: a European weekend prix fixe brunch featuring German pancakes, crepes, and housemade kuchen pastries.

"This is a lot of stuff from my mom's side of the family," he said. "This is stuff we grew up on."


Master's Barbecue Company is opening a restaurant next to Braymiller's Lanes in Hamburg.

So far, Master's Barbecue has been providing catering services, centered around marinated grilled chicken and slow-smoked barbecued meats. In April, that food and more will be available in a retail space at 43 Buffalo St., said Sean Collins, an owner.

The restaurant will mostly offer takeout, though there is a row of stools at a counter where people can eat. Customers can also take their food next door to Braymiller's, which has a full bar, Collins said. Master's Barbecue will become the bowling alley's food provider.

Master's Barbecue, which got its start grilling chicken at catering events, is opening a restaurant. (Master's Barbecue)

The space is presently a location of The Catering Company, which will be closing March 31 and reopening at 84 Lake St.

Master's Barbecue has built its early success around chicken that's been marinated for two days, sprinkled with a spice rub and grilled, Collins said. "We are going to be offering that at the store, plus our smoked ribs, pulled pork and brisket," Collins said. In addition, the restaurant will offer pizza, chicken wings, subs and other food that may appeal to the bowlers next door, and other customers.

Collins and three partners started Master's Barbecue last year. "A lot of our cooking up to this point has been private parties, weddings, on-site cooking, and fundraisers," he said.

They've been working together for a year on events, but none were professional cooks. "We were looking for something to do in the summer, and then it got busy," Collins said. "Now it's going to be even busier."


La Galera Express, a new Amherst restaurant offering Mexican street food like tacos, burritos and tortas, opened Jan. 18.

Located in the Tops Plaza, 3035 Niagara Falls Blvd., the restaurant is owned by the same company as La Galera Mexican Restaurant in Niagara Falls.

The Amherst restaurant's menu is trimmed down, not including bigger fare like entrée plates. "We have a small menu, more real Mexican, like street tacos," said operator Jose Montes.

La Galera Express concentrates on Mexican street food, but has tables for diners. (La Galera Express)

There's no alcohol at present, but he's applied for a license, said Montes, who hails from Guanajuato. Mexican drinks do include horchata, the rice shake, and agua de Jamaica, or hibiscus tea.

The restaurant has four small tables, and will be adding a salsa and fixings bar so customers can customize their tacos and burritos, Montes said.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday. Phone: 691-3341.


EXPO Market, the downtown food hall, is adding a hot dog specialist and a burrito bar to its lineup.

In the space at 617 Main St., Breezy Burrito, offering burritos and tacos, opened Jan. 31. Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs, a mobile outfit that serves the area with two food trucks, expects to open its first brick-and-mortar operation in mid-February.

Breezy Burrito owner Briana Rose Hunter previously worked at Lockhouse Distillery and Gypsy Parlor. In her first enterprise, Hunter will be offering tacos, burritos, burrito bowls and taco salads in a fast-casual setting.

Fillings will include braised beef, ground beef, shredded chicken and vegetarian fillings, like black beans or tempeh, she said. Hunter grew up learning to make Tex-Mex-influenced food from her mother, who runs the kitchen at Hotel Grande, a Tex-Mex restaurant outside Potsdam.

[RELATED: EXPO hosts inaugural Soup Challenge]

Frank Gourmet, known for innovative toppings like blueberry barbecue sauce and fried jalapenos, will offer the truck’s menu of decked-out hot dogs at EXPO, along with fresh-cut regular and sweet potato fries.

“Down the road, there’s the opportunity to introduce a burger,” said Paul Tripi, who owns the business with his brother Frank. “As we get our feet wet and the weather breaks, more items will be introduced.”

The trucks will continue operating, visiting the same spots, he said.

[RELATED: Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs in The News' Food Truck Guide]

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