With a third location of Deep South Taco under way on Transit Road, the company is working on a first for local taco restaurants: its own farm.
Deep South Taco is buying about 50 acres in Angola, intending to work with area farmers to raise crops on that land for Deep South Taco restaurants, owner Richard Hamilton said. By next year, he hopes to see vegetables like tomatoes, tomatillos, chiles, radishes and green onions coming from the restaurant's own land.
"We buy from quite a few farms now, but many farms don’t produce in the quantity that Deep South Taco needs," Hamilton said. "This is a great opportunity for us to grow as much locally as we can for all three of our restaurants."
[Deep South Taco has two spots in Buffalo's surging tide of tacos]
Details are still being hammered out, and the effort may not start in earnest until next year, Hamilton said. If the company can grow locally even 60 percent of the vegetables it needs, while supporting local farmers, that would be a "great opportunity," he said. "We're going to take a stab at it and see if we can make it a success."
The taco-centered restaurant is turning 6727 Transit Road, Lancaster, former Quaker Steak & Lube, into its third restaurant, and first suburban outpost. The original Deep South Taco opened at 291 Ellicott St. in 2015, followed by 1701 Hertel Ave. on New Year's Day.
The Transit Road restaurant will seat about 200 in the dining room, and another 70 at the bar, with room for about 180 on the outdoor patio. The front wall of the restaurant will turned into a retractable glass wall to open the dining room to the patio.
"Transit is going to have some things the other two don't have," said owner Richard Hamilton. "The biggest is that we're going to be brewing beer there."
Equipment is being installed that will allow the Transit restaurant to brew three types of beer, he said. One will be LuchaBrew, a Mexican-style lager that has been brewed for the company by East Aurora's 42 North.
"It's been their number two beer at 42 North, and people have been asking for it other places," Hamilton said.
[PHOTOS: Smiles at the LuchaBrew Launch Party at Deep South Taco]
The Transit restaurant will also have a dedicated takeout area, like a walk-through Chipotle line, he said, to add a quick-serve function for customers looking to grab food and go.
In other news, Hamilton said that in a month, new food items will be coming to Deep South Taco locations, including fajitas, Baja shrimp and Texas brisket tacos, and ceviche.
Black Rock Puerto Rican: A Puerto Rican restaurant called El Encanto opened in Black Rock on April 3.
It's located at 2179 Niagara St., near the I-190 ramp, in a building that was last Buffalo Supper Club.
El Encanto is a family restaurant, not a club, said George Mercado, a manager. His sister Melissa Morales is the owner, he said, and this is her first restaurant.
After years of cooking for family, events and catering, she was encouraged to share her talents with the community, Mercado said. "A few years later her dream came true, and she's making it a success."
The menu includes Puerto Rican standards like fried pork, pastelillos, chicken stew, mofongo (garlicky mashed plantains), Caribbean seafood salad and bacalaitos (codfish fritters).
In the next month, it may add some light music, like a trio with guitar, Mercado said, so customers can "come in and feel like they are actually in the Puerto Rico."
The restaurant will seat about 60, and presently serves no alcohol.
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday, Monday. Phone: 424-1891.
Charlie's Boat Yard reopening: Charlie's Boat Yard, the seasonal restaurant at the Small Boat Harbor, opens April 20, for lunch.
Changes from last year include more dining seating, and a broader menu, said John Skipper, an owner. The restaurant, at 1111 Fuhrman Blvd., replaced Dug's Dive on the Buffalo waterfront.
About 90 percent of the restaurant's staff is returning, Skipper said. That should allow the restaurant to cut down on excessive wait times that plagued the operation during the start of last summer's run. "We got much, much better as the season went on, and by the end of the year we were fine," Skipper said.
Additions to the menu will include a soft-shell crab sandwich and shrimp scampi, Skipper said.
This season there will be more outdoor dining seats, increasing the dining capacity to about 110, he said, up from last year's capacity of about 70. The outdoor bar will also be open on April 20, weather permitting.
Kitchen hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, Saturday. Phone: 828-1600.
Blaze hits two: A fire Tuesday at La Delicias Taqueria, 454 Pearl St., caused an estimated $300,000 in damage to the building, the Buffalo Fire Department said.
Venus, next door at 425 Pearl, sustained about $80,000 in damage, the department said. Venus owner Jack Adly said his restaurant will be closed while the building is evaluated.
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