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Restaurant Notes: Cipollina set to deliver Italian flavors to Akron

Akron is getting its own rustic Italian trattoria when Cipollina opens next week.

Laurie Bordonaro, owner of Guy’s Subs, an Akron standard since 1963, is opening Cipollina next door, at 6 Clinton St. Working with her is Jerry Clementi, a former Aroma owner and Buffalo restaurant veteran.

The plan is to open March 9, as Local Restaurant Week begins, Clementi said. After that, it’ll be open Tuesday through Saturday, 4 to 9 p.m.

The opening menu will include dishes like veal Milanese, short ribs using locally raised beef, housemade pastas and cheeses like ricotta, burrata and mozzarella.

There’ll be about 48 seats, and a beer and wine selection.

The name has family roots too. “Cipollina means little onion in Italian,” Clementi said. “It’s a term of endearment our nonna used to call us when she squeezed our cheeks.”

Local Restaurant Week: Make your reservations now for the spring showcase of locally owned Western New York restaurants, from March 9-15.

Nearly 200 places offer a $20.15 invitation to visit, giving the habitual diner a ticket to jump their rut, just this once.

There’s something for every eater. Special offers go into the $30.15 and $40.15 tiers, too, but the most satisfying wonders might be what $20.15 gets you.

Ethnic adventurers can get a four-course Thai and Burmese meal for two at Lin Restaurant, a new Burmese-run place at 927 Tonawanda St. in Riverside. A pair of Greek breakfast lovers can cozy up to a souvlaki breakfast plus eggs, toast, coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice at Milos, 5877 Main St., Williamsville.

Or for classic Buffalo eats, dinner for two at Polish Villa II, 1085 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga. That’s a shared appetizer, and two entrees, like the Warsaw cutlet and chicken over kluski.

Upscale places participating include Buffalo Chophouse, Bourbon & Butter, Rick’s on Main, Ristorante Lombardo, David’s Grille, Bacchus, Tabree, Ilio DiPaolo’s, Protocol and Rizotto.

See the whole list at

Sophia’s adds dinner: Sophia’s in Kenmore plans to add dinner to its family-friendly breakfast and lunch offerings, but it’s going to start slowly.

“I’m going to stick to the basics, meatloaf, meatballs in sauce. I’m going to try to keep it simple, because I’m going to do a lot of the cooking myself,” said owner Sam Doherty. “Maybe four or five apps, five or six specials, some sandwiches and salads, and see where it goes from there.”

Doherty is already busy. His place at 749 Military Road, Kenmore, was a neighborhood favorite even before Guy Fieri put Sophia’s on the national eater map in 2010.

Starting April 1, Doherty said, the plan is to remain open for breakfast and lunch, then add dinner, available until 8 or 9 p.m. Sophia’s already has a bar, serving up Bloody Marys garnished with crispy bacon and other drinks.

“I don’t think I’ll be happy if I don’t try it,” Doherty said of adding dinner. “I know what good food is. I don’t do gastronomy cooking or anything like that, but I know what I want to put out will be good.”

Casa coming: Operators trying to put a Casa di Pizza downtown bought a building on East Mohawk Street last week.

“The project is moving forward,” said Jeff Jacobbi, an owner. “We plan on going JJ’s Casa di Pizza there, with bar, dining room, takeout and delivery, with a courtyard facing the Washington Street side.”

The address will be 11 E. Mohawk St., he said. “We’re in the midst of getting architectural drawings to the city for building permits,” Jacobbi said. “We’re looking at midsummer.”

Winter opening: Raphael’s has survived a rough introduction to Southtowns winter after opening in December. Owner Ralph Galluzzi brought life back to a Town of Boston building last operated as a pizzeria in 2008.

Now Raphael’s, 8936 Boston State Road, offers Italian family dining in the purest sense. Galluzzi said the recipes for the sauces, pastas and more specialties come from family recipes.

The lasagna is built from housemade pasta sheets. It is two and a half pounds, and costs $15.95, Galluzzi said. “People have been telling me it’s the biggest in Buffalo,” he said. “Most people can’t even finish it.” Galluzzi makes his own fettucine and linguine, sausage and meatballs.

“It’s real Italian, old-time recipes that I’ve had handed down three generations, from my mother’s mother, to my mother, to me.”

Raphael’s is his first restaurant. “I’ve always been a cook at home,” Galluzzi said. “They say the restaurant business is tough, but every business is tough if you’re in New York State.” (Hat tip: Dan Meyer).

Moving: Amherst Indian family restaurant Taste of India, 3093 Sheridan Drive, is moving across the street to another plaza. The move will occur by mid-April, said owner Deep Singh. The new spot is 3192 Sheridan Drive, formerly occupied by Shalimar Garden.

Rent in the old space would have more than tripled, forcing the move, said Singh. He wasn’t sure when the present kitchen would shut down. There are about 65 restaurant seats and a banquet room that will seat over 180, roughly the size of the old space, he said.

Closings: La Castelana, an Italian family restaurant at 5176 Transit Road, closed in December.

Hotroxs Buffalo Bistro has closed at 5489 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg. “We just didn’t have enough traffic where we were,” said owner Diane Notto-Hamric. “We’re going to still do the shows and the festivals, and market our hot sauces.”

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