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 like 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.
Bigger Amherst creperie: The crowd of people waiting outside Break'n Eggs Creperie in the mornings might thin out once the restaurant's operators open a bigger second location on Sweet Home Road.
The Amherst creperie, at 5235 Main St., has been swamped with customers since it opened five years ago. Now Robert Sweeney and his wife Annie are working on a second location near the University at Buffalo's Amherst campus.
It will be called Break'n Eggs Creperie Express, located in University Place, 1280 Sweet Home Road, Suite 4, the former Dunkin' Donuts space next to In-and-Out Pasta.
It has a drive-through. But when the location opens, customers won't be able to order there, just pick up.
The menu of sweet and savory crepes will be similar, with a few additions and omissions, he said.
It won't have servers. Customers will order at the counter and get a buzzer to alert them when their food is ready.
"We're going to start practicing with all the equipment, and getting our timing down," Sweeney said. "We won't be open for two or three weeks."
The space seats 60, making it much larger than the original 40-seat location.
"Maybe we can shift over some of the Main Street morning crowd," Sweeney said. "But a lot of them are regulars, who don't mind waiting." Sometimes when college students return, the waits can get even longer, he noted. "This should help."
Server turns owner: Lackawanna restaurant The Mess Hall has a new owner – one of its servers.
Sue Staniszewski, one of the original servers at Mulberry Italian Ristorante when Joe Jerge and partners opened the place in 2004. She worked there for about eight years, and when Jerge and others opened the Mess Hall in 2014, she worked for him again.
In July, with Jerge and partners working on other project, she bought the place, at 717 Ridge Road.
Her parents owned Bokans in Lackawanna for years, and Staniszewski decided to get back into the business.
She asked the staff if they would stay, and they said they would. So she decided to make the leap. "We have a great staff that kind of makes the place go," she said. "They were on board, and here we are."
There won't be many changes to the menu, she said. The Mulberry meatball is going with Jerge, but a new meatball appetizer replaced it. There is a smoked beef on weck, a smoked chicken quesadilla and more dishes coming for the fall menu, she said.
Sunday brunch is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with dinner to 8 p.m. The place is open on Mondays now, still closed on Tuesday.
"I think we really still have a really good thing here," Staniszewski said. "I like the way it is now, and I don’t think you change a good thing."
Send restaurant tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @BuffaloFood on Instagram and Twitter.