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Billygans Cafe aims to bring taste of tropics to Tonawanda

Billygans Café will be giving the City of Tonawanda another choice for breakfast and lunch when it opens Saturday morning.

The restaurant, 38 Niagara St., is the work of a 1977 graduate of Tonawanda High School who returned to town after moving to Florida.

Bill Karcher started his restaurant career at 18, shaking chicken wings at Johnnie's Old Timer Saloon in Kenmore. He's been cooking professionally ever since. His wife Nancy, a Kenmore West graduate, is the other owner.

The Karchers recently spent six years in Florida, where Bill did corporate cooking for Lockheed Martin and Honeywell. Last year they bought the Tonawanda building, which was last Magpie's Bake Shop, and years before that, the Driftwood Lounge.

While in Florida, assisting with a friend's restaurant, he brought a better beef on weck to Dunedin, "and they loved it," Bill Karcher said. So he's decided to bring a touch of tropical flavor to his Tonawanda menu.

There's a Cuban sandwich of roast pork, ham, salami, Swiss cheese, and pickles ($5.99) on the lunch menu, along with a turkey sandwich with mango chutney spread ($4.99). Muffins will include a coconut-pineapple version, Karcher said.

The plan is for breakfast sandwiches and burritos in the morning, plus specials like eggs Benedict with fresh orange hollandaise sauce. Lunch is sandwiches and salads and soup. Friday is the only day for dinner presently, with fish fry and seafood dinners ($8.99-13.99) and clam chowder available.

The door to Billygans Cafe opens at 7 a.m. Saturday. Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday- Sunday, dinner 3-8 p.m. Friday. Phone: 692-2700.

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