Kevin O'Connell Jr. has opened Greystone, a fine-dining restaurant that the chef calls his "last hurrah."
Opened late August at 445 Delaware Ave., the former Snooty Fox space, Greystone will showcase what he's learned over his culinary career, O'Connell said.
The menu features entrees from crispy cauliflower steak with Flat 12 mushrooms ($21) to rack of lamb with mint jus and garlic greens ($42). There's also luxe choices such as chateaubriand for two ($90), with Robuchon-style whipped potatoes and Bearnaise sauce.
Small plates include burrata with tomatoes ($12) and cider-braised pork belly with apple slaw ($15).
The dining room seats about 40, and the bar will hold another 35, O'Connell said. Partner George Mintzer, a manager of the East Aurora Country Club, will run the front of the house.
In 2007, O'Connell took over the former Hourglass in Kenmore and turned it into O'Connell's American Bistro. (It's now Gigi's Cucina Povera.)
In 2008, O'Connell served six months in a Pennsylvania federal prison after admitting to credit card fraud at a Montana restaurant that occurred in 2005. O'Connell left Buffalo for Los Angeles in 2011, opened a restaurant and then started a food truck business.
He didn't intend to start a restaurant when he returned to Buffalo, but the opportunity to use the space was too good to pass up, he said. Plus he still had something to say with his food.
"I'm coming back because I think there's one more chapter here, and this is that chapter," O'Connell said. He said people should judge him on his work, not his past.
"I paid my debt. I did wrong, and I paid for it," he said. "None of that affected anything I did in this town. There are still going to be people that believe 'His daddy is buying him a restaurant.' I will always be Kevin O'Connell's son. And to be quite honest with you, that's a pretty awesome honor, because my dad's a pretty awesome dude."
Come to 445 Delaware Ave., he suggested, and "judge me on the merits."
Hours: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sunday. Phone: 858-4363.
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