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Restaurant notes: Venable, Ashker's, Hydraulic Hearth - Gusto

David Venable, host of cable television’s “In the Kitchen with David” on QVC, will host a live show today from the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park.

It’s part of a monthlong road trip for Venable that the shopping channel has described as a salute to the armed forces.

The broadcast is scheduled from 8 to 10 p.m. today. The warships of the Naval Park will serve as backdrop as Venable cooks recipes from his latest cookbook and talks about products for sale on the network. The public is invited to attend, a QVC spokeswoman said.


Ashker’s, which bills itself as a juice bar, bistro and gallery, will open its third business in a currently blighted three-story corner building at 1526 Main St. and West Ferry Street in August.

The family-owned Ashker’s will have a 5,000-square-foot open floor plan. The main entryway will have café seating and a stage for performances, which Angelo Ashker said will range from one-act plays and musical performances to poetry readings.

There will be also an events space, which could have classes or private gatherings, and another area dedicated to the holistic healing arts, with a chiropractor, massage therapist and acupuncturist taking up residence.

The other Asker’s eateries are at 1002 Elmwood Ave., and 400 Main St., Youngstown.

The building, being developed by Sinatra & Company, will also have Barre Centric, a barre fitness center, on the first floor and 10 market-rate, loft-style apartments located on the second and third floors.

– Mark Sommer


Pizza is the heart of the draft menu at Hydraulic Hearth, the restaurant Harry Zemsky is working on opening at Larkinville this summer.

There’s a dozen listed, topped with everything from rabbit ragu to tomatoes and lemon zest. Offered in two sizes, they run from $13-$24. There’s local shout-outs, including a Buffalo chicken number, and one topped with sausage from Spar’s.

The appetizers include a flavor from far away: Sweden, with the introduction of meatballs in cream sauce with lingonberry. The recipe Zemsky used was inspired by Albright-Knox director Janne Siren, who’s Finnish, but said the Finns make meatballs practically identical to their Swedish neighbors’ when he whipped up a batch, Zemsky said.

Here’s something else that’s different: a free Public Espresso with every meal.

Hydraulic Hearth is under construction at 716 Swan St., with artwork, shuffleboard courts and more being built into a beer-friendly hangout sort of place, featuring unique brews from the Community Beer Works test kitchen. It should open in late summer, Zemsky said. “This is definitely a working menu that is subject to many changes as we draw nearer to opening,” he warned.

Open: Sister’s African Cuisine, a Liberian restaurant serving authentic dishes like jollof rice, fufu, cassava and palm butter stews, opened last week at 1240 Hertel Ave. (876-3000). Owner Mahawa Chelley, a Liberian who’s been in Buffalo since 2000, said it was her first restaurant. “It was something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “I had the opportunity, and I took it.” She’s open for lunch, with $6.50 lunch specials, and dinner. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Open: Carmen Paolini, an owner of Lebro’s, has opened a quick-serve pasta bar called In & Out Pasta, near the University of Buffalo’s North Campus.

Paolini said the restaurant (1280 Sweet Home Road, 688-9500), which opened May 1, is a “Chipotle meets Italian” concept. Pastas and salads are made while customers wait, with pastas from $7 and salads from $6. It’s dine-in or takeout, and includes whole-grain, gluten free and vegan tortellini options.

Open: Winny’s Seafood and Steak House, which is actually a Japanese stir-fry fast-food specialist, opened in March at 3189 Delaware Ave., Kenmore (464-3814). Open seven days for lunch and dinner, with a menu ranging from $6.25 vegetable fried rice, to $9.95 filet mignon hibachi style with rice and vegetables.

Opening: Zoup, a fast casual franchise restaurant offering an array of soups, salads and sandwiches, opens June 12. New owner Michael Wiktor of Orchard Park said he’s long wanted to open a sandwich and salad place, and liked Zoup’s lineup of healthy options.

There’s 12 soups a day, drawing from 100 recipes, and customers can try the soup before they buy it, Wiktor said. A cup of soup and half sandwich or salad goes for about $8. The 78-seat place will be at 3217 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park.

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