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Restaurant notes: Hydraulic Hearth, Vegan on Allen, more

Hydraulic Hearth, the Larkin Square restaurant masterminded by Harry Zemsky, opened Tuesday for dinner.

“It’s definitely nervous excitement,” said Zemsky, who has worked in restaurants, but never opened one before. “It’s great to see it finally come together, and we’re really happy with it.”

Hours will be 4:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4:30 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The brick-oven-pizza-centered menu lists 12 pizzas, from margherita (tomato, mozzarella, basil) to ragu (pork, beef, veal, onion, mozzarella). The 12-inch pizzas are $12-$16. Gluten-free pizzas are available for a $4 upcharge.

Starters include matzo ball soup, Swedish meatballs inspired by Albright-Knox director Janne Siren’s family recipe, fondue, salads and “bourbon wings.” There are 12 beers on tap, craft beer with a heavy local selection, and a list of house cocktails, plus a small selection of wine and bottled beer.

Zemsky, son of Larkin principals Leslie and Howard Zemsky, has been working on the restaurant for the last year. Details include custom wallpaper sporting Larkin images, and “The World’s Smallest Art Gallery,” which is an augmented phone booth.

Eventually, other features will start working. The Community Beer Works satellite brewery in the building will start making beer in coming weeks. Friday lunch is a goal. Brunch with BreadHive products is in the works.

Planned: A former Starbucks barista is working on opening Buffalo’s only all-vegetarian restaurant on Allen Street.

Megan Stewart plans to establish Grindhaus Café at 160 Allen St., the old New York Pizzeria. She’s currently working on construction to meet building code requirements. “I’d like to be open in November,” she said.

She’s aiming for “a neighborhood café,” she said, “50-50 coffee and food, everything vegetarian and vegan.” That means “100 percent vegetarian, no meat whatsoever,” Stewart said. If she sticks to that standard, Grindhaus Café will be the only completely vegetarian restaurant in Buffalo.

It will serve breakfast all day, and lunch, with a rotating specials menu. “We’ll have a vegetarian biscuits and gravy,” she said. Expect breakfast sandwiches, with house-made seitan or tempeh bacon on request, and pancakes and waffles.

Lunch menu will have sandwiches like a vegetarian cheesesteak hoagie and a grilled goat cheese sandwich.

Getting an ear full: Hungry people interested in the development of dining possibilities in Western New York can now add a “Grain of Salt” to their diet.

“Grain of Salt” is a podcast, an audio recording of conversations between people involved in the local restaurant world, from chefs to farmers. The second episode, released last week, features chefs at two new restaurants – Edward Forster of Buffalo Proper and Steven Gedra of the Black Sheep – talking about issues like whether Buffalo’s current restaurant-opening boom is sustainable, and the struggle to get and keep good kitchen workers under current conditions.

You can find a listenable link through

Its hosts are Donnie Burtless of the food site, and Christa Glennie Seychew, Buffalo Spree senior editor and Nickel City Chef organizer. It’s recorded at Hydraulic Hearth.

It’s a successor of sorts to “Eat It Up,” a 103-episode podcast that Burtless, Buffalo’s best-read food blogger, used to explore the restaurant landscape from 2011 to 2013.

Burtless and Seychew are aiming for weekly but can’t guarantee that, Burtless said. They expect to alternate weeks, with Burtless interviewing people who are cooking, growing or doing something else involved with the Buffalo restaurant scene. Seychew will address restaurant topics with guests, and they’ll occasionally do news roundups as well.

Winter market: Pasta Peddler and Blackbird Sweets are hosting a winter market on Hertel Avenue, giving shoppers a chance to browse a bevy of local products in one stop.

Located at 1547 Hertel Ave., it begins Nov. 22 and will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

Pasta Peddler offers fresh and dried pastas, and frozen ravioli, said owner Michael Sedia. His daughter Andrea Amodeo runs Blackbird Sweets, which offers cupcakes and more. Those businesses will be open during the week.

On Saturdays, about 10 more vendors are expected, offering vegetables, meat, cheese, coffee, bread, goat’s milk soap and more. They include Prudom Farms, Plato Dale Farm, T-Meadow Farm, Public Espresso, BreadHive, Alpine Made, Chateau Buffalo wine and cider and more.

“We’ve got over 3,000 square feet,” Sedia said. “It’s a pretty big store.”

The Hertel site joins two other city winter markets already in operation.

• Horsefeathers Winter Market, 346 Connecticut St., running 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, is where Pasta Peddler and Blackbird Sweets started. In addition to brunch offerings from first-floor restaurant Martin Cooks, there’s Jolie’s Chinese and Michele’s Caribbean food stands. Ingredients for sale include Native Offerings vegetables, plus Plato Dale and Prudom Farms, BreadHive loaves, cheese from First Light Farm and Creamery, Michelle’s Caribbean Cuisine, Green Heron Growers, Biscotti for Everybotti, and more.

• Washington Market Winter Market, 461 Ellicott St., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays. Offerings go beyond locally raised fruit, vegetables to beef and eggs from Robbin’s Nest farm, chicken and pork from Providence to Castle Farms goat cheese and goat fudge, Cedars Bakery’s fresh pita bread, pet treats from Hand Paws & Treats and more.

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