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New West Side restaurant specializes in empanadas

La Gourmet Empanadas opened last week on the West Side, broadening Buffalo’s fried turnover menu in a significant way.

The building, 74 Herkimer St., at the corner of West Ferry Street, rehabilitated by owner Hector Rodriguez, now contains an operating restaurant. Whereas Buffalo has long had plenty of pastelillos, Puerto Rican fried turnovers, La Gourmet Empanadas’ offerings will range further afield. Chef Jeffry Harris stuffs his turnovers with chicken, salmon, pulled pork, beef and more before frying them.

“I’m a gourmet chef, why limit it to beef or chicken?” Harris said. “I got pulled pork, salmon, black beans, and I plan on growing further.”

They’re served by the pair, with a dipping sauce, at $4-$6.50. 

There are some dessert choices, too, though since he’s just starting out, supply will be ragged at first.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is 240-1349.

Opening: The owner of Thai Me Up food truck is working on opening a Lancaster restaurant.

Kim Suphankomut said he hopes to open Water Lily Café in about three weeks. It’ll be at 5354 Genesee St., Lancaster.

The 35-seat restaurant will offer Thai dishes, Vietnamese specialties like pho, or noodle soup, and Asian-American fusion dishes like sliders, he said.

The Thai Me Up food truck will continue to operate, serving food at events like Food Truck Tuesdays at Larkin Square, he said. Suphankomut started the truck business in 2013.

Rising baker honored: Alexandra Hare, a baker for Bourbon & Butter and Merge, has been awarded a national-level fellowship for up-and-coming women in American kitchens.

Administered by the James Beard Foundation, the Women in Culinary Leadership program is an effort to help women “break through the culinary world’s ‘glass ceiling,’ ” a news release said.

Hare will spend six months working in both the kitchen and dining room at Nico Osteria in Chicago, one of the city’s best Italian seafood specialists. She leaves for Chicago next week. “This program is letting me take a further step outside the box of just being a cook, or just someone who bakes pretty things,” Hare said. “I’m interested in much more.”

A 2006 Nichols School grad, she has been working at Bourbon & Butter, and also makes gluten-free flatbread and desserts for Merge.

In theater, someone who can sing, dance and act is called a “triple threat.” Hare said the Women in Culinary Leadership program will help her pursue her goal of becoming a triple threat in the restaurant world. “Not just work behind the line, but to see both sides of the restaurant and dining experience, providing good hospitality from start to finish.”

BBQ breakfast: Wayno’s BBQ started dishing up smoky breakfast burritos and more at the Hamburg Farmers Market, starting Saturday.

Wade Starnes has been serving barbecue at catered events, but this is his debut to the general public, he said.

He smokes beef brisket from Librock Farms in Gasport, and will wrap slices up with eggs, grilled onions and potatoes, housemade salsa verde and queso fresco in a flour tortilla for $6.

He’s also selling brisket or pulled pork sandwiches for $9 with a side, and breakfast sandwiches for $5. Sides will include smoked mac and cheese, beans, and two kinds of cole slaw.

The market is in the Village of Hamburg municipal parking lot, across South Buffalo Street from the Palace Theater. Starnes plans on being there when the market is open, 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 31.

Closed: Reuben’s N.Y. Deli closed May 1, according to its Facebook page. The New York style deli on Maple Road opened in 2013.

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