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Restaurant news: Nick's Place Express, Shenannigans, Aguacates

A Greek breakfast-lunch restaurant with specialties like spinach pie in handmade phyllo dough has reopened in Kenmore.

Nick's Place Express turned on the lights at 2466 Elmwood Ave. last month, for the second time.

"I've tried other things, and the restaurant keeps pulling me back," said owner Nick Ananiadis, who operated a restaurant in the building before closing it in February 2015. "The opportunity came up for me to go back to my old restaurant, and my wife and I decided that if we're going to do this, we're going to do it the right way."

That included sweeping renovations, including new floors, countertops, cabinets, tables and chairs, he said. The room seats 20 people.

[Check out the similar food offerings at Nick's Place]

Open chicken souvlaki at Nick's Place, a neighborhood favorite in Black Rock, will be the model for the version offered at Nick's Place Express in Kenmore. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Its menu may seem familiar to fans of Nick's Place or Sophia's, which is not a coincidence.

This branch of the Buffalo Greek restaurant family tree goes like this, Ananiadis said: he is the son of Peter Ananiadis (Nick's Place, 504 Amherst St.), and nephew of Sophia Ananiadis (Sophia's, 749 Military Road), whose son Sam Doherty runs the place now.

There's housemade bread, open-faced chicken souvlaki, Texas hots, and breakfast skillets, but he has a few new offerings. His wife Anna, who came from Thessaloniki, Greece two years ago, makes her own phyllo dough, Ananiadis said. Spanakopita, spinach pie, is the standard, but she makes other kinds as well.

"We're trying to build on the great things my father has done, and add our own touches," he said. That include a free slice of his wife's milopita, apple cake, to all customers.

Nick's Place Express is open for breakfast and lunch, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Sundays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Mondays.

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Shenannigans Bar and Grill in Amherst has reopened under new ownership, offering a menu of Buffalo tavern favorites.

The restaurant, 1009 Niagara Falls Blvd. has retained its Irish pub look but changed some details to freshen up the place, said owner Paul Rubino.

"We changed the décor around the bar area, from a soccer theme to more of a Buffalo sports theme, with jerseys and Buffalo stuff," he said.

Local craft beer has also taken over more of the restaurant's 18 beer taps, he said.

The menu, once tilted toward Irish-American dishes, has been simplified and concentrates on the Buffalo basics: wings, beef on weck, fries and pizza logs. "We also have a quinoa salad, and a grilled chicken salad," Rubino said, "and people have been coming back for it."

At 24, Rubino said, he might be the youngest restaurant owner in town. He is well acquainted with the building, where he worked a bouncer five or six years ago, he said, when he was a student at the University at Buffalo his uncle owned the place. He graduated from UB in 2014, and a took over in December.

There are more menu changes coming, with at least one more Buffalo favorite to come, he said: "I want to get into pizza."

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A new Mexican restaurant is getting ready to open on Elmwood Avenue in the former Agave space.

Aguacates, which also has a location in Lockport, will be offering lunch and dinner seven days a week at 756 Elmwood Ave. Agave closed in October after an immigration raid.

Aguacates owner Jose Castaneda, who also operates restaurants in Watertown and Liverpool, said that he was able to reach a deal for the restaurant's equipment and lease. If all goes well, he said, the restaurant should be open by the end of February. Aguacates is Spanish for avocados.

The menu for the 50-seat restaurant will be the same as the Lockport Aguacates, Castaneda said. Steak and seafood plates, carnitas pork plates, tamales and chile rellenos are among the choices.

[Read: Review of Aguacates in Lockport]

A full bar will offer margaritas, beer and more. Castaneda said he's applied for a sidewalk patio license as well.

"We've been wanting to get into the Buffalo market for a while," he said. "We are very much looking forward to serving the community, and the Elmwood Village."

Email Andrew Galarneau, especially if you have restaurant news, at agalarneau@buffnews.com

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