The tavern that sells one of Buffalo’s favorite burgers can be yours for $395,000.
Joe and Mindy Vizzi have run the neighborhood place, at 967 Kenmore Ave., Kenmore, for 22 years. They’ve had enough, and are looking to sell it and move to Florida. It’s not clear if they will find a buyer interested in keeping things the way they are.
This much is sure: the future of Vizzi’s will be in someone else’s hands.
The place was open for a decade, selling Friday night fish fries, wings and beer, before getting much notice outside the neighborhood.
In 2008, Vizzi’s cheeseburger was crowned the best burger in Buffalo after an extensive survey I conducted. “It put us from the basement to the upper suite,” said Vizzi. The softball-sized beef on weck was celebrated as well, in reviews such as Anne Neville’s from 2010.
The positive press, along with best-in-Buffalo awards from Spree and Artvoice, brought the crowds from across town.
“At one time I had 11 employees,” said Vizzi. “Now I have 32. That’s a big difference.”
The current staff is willing to stay if the operation stays the same, he said. “We’re willing to do two months of training, to do things our way. This is a neighborhood restaurant, and if they change the way we do things, I don’t know how that will affect what business is.”
Everything is homemade, the french fries are hand-cut, we make the potato salad. “We put a lot of love into the business, and that’s the way it needs to stay if someone wants to keep the numbers the same.”
Chef takes over: Daniels is a chef-owned restaurant once more.
Executive Chef Scott Donhauser became sole proprietor in May, after buying out his other partners. “Business has been great and people are trusting us (to) do the things that Chef Daniel perfected over 23 years,” Donhauser said via email.
The Hamburg restaurant, placed on Western New York’s fine-dining map by founding chef-owner Daniel Johengen, has continued its wine-tasting dinners, including an upcoming six-course Asian-inspired menu with wine pairings on June 28.
An ahi tuna tasting spins the fish with wasabi cream, watermelon and tofu, and in a wonton crust. After a lemongrass ginger sorbet intermezzo, there’s duck breast with First Light Farm goat cheese polenta, avocado marble and passion fruit barbecue sauce, then wagyu sirloin with a smoked potato cake.
It’s $95 before tax and tip, and starts at 5 p.m., 174 Buffalo St., daniels-restaurant.com, 648-6554.
Soup’s on: Buffalo Rome, the tiny soup-and-sandwich purveyor that succeeded the former Bryant Street restaurant, has started selling food.
The cafe, 388 Porter Ave. (986-5488), was formerly Morning Glory. Lemon chicken rice and cream of mushroom soups, chicken Caesar, mushroom pavé and eggplant salads, and a roast chicken sandwich with asiago cheese and parsley aioli were on the menu last week.
Soup is $3 cup/$5 bowl, salads are $5-$7, sandwiches are $7.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. “As soon as I can, I will expand the hours to include evenings and weekends,” owner Victor Mirando said. It’s also a dog-friendly cafe.
Pop-up series turns 2: There’s nothing occult about Midnight Mass, but there is communion, of sorts. It sure does draw true believers.
Midnight Mass is the city’s oldest pop-up dinner series hosted by Steven and Ellen Gedra of The Black Sheep, 367 Connecticut St. It’s been a sought-after ticket despite the fact that it serves people dinner at midnight Saturday, after most restaurants close.
That’s because it’s a showcase for talented chefs to work out their culinary kinks. One night only, diners get to try adventurous food from chefs who don’t make these dishes every day, for whatever reason.
The Gedras started the series in 2013, in their tiny Bistro Europa on Elmwood Avenue. After buying and renovating the former Golden Key into The Black Sheep, there was room for a few more pews. There are about 40 seats, now.
Midnight Mass faithful have feasted on fine dining chefs’ versions of their dream dishes. Things like tonkotsu ramen, lobster rolls, whole hog snout-to-tail samplers, schnitzel, black summer truffles, and mac and cheese, which sounds boring until you find out about the bone marrow cream.
The next installment, Saturday, will feature the work of leading Buffalo chef Mike Andrzejewski, of SeaBar, Bourbon & Butter, Tappo and Cantina Loco.
Here’s the menu: Seafood Banh Mi; corn chowder with Portuguese sausage; Hawaiian Butterfish with roasted pineapple, Spam fried rice; soufflé.
It starts at 11:30 p.m., actually. Tickets, which are transferable but not refundable, are available by calling The Black Sheep at 884-1100. It’s $45, not including tax, tip or alcohol.
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