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Restaurant Notes By Andrew Z. Galarneau Brewery aims to put Buffalo beer on the map

Mike Shatzel and Rocco Termini are bringing a brewery and restaurant to Elmwood Avenue.

Termini has bought the buildings that housed Faherty’s and Toro, said Shatzel. They will be developing a brewery in the Faherty’s space, 490 Elmwood Ave., and an associated restaurant where Toro was, next door at 492 Elmwood.

The deal means Termini, one of Buffalo’s leading developers, is broadening his restaurant interests into the Elmwood Village. As an owner of Blue Monk, Shatzel has been a leading Buffalo craft beer merchant, but has never been a brewer. For the new place, he’ll be looking for a brewer comfortable pushing the envelope and offering distinctive, even experimental brews, Shatzel said.

“Being a guy selling beer for a long time in Buffalo, this is the next logical step for me,” he said.

Asked what would set his brewery apart, Shatzel said, “I think what all those guys are doing is great. I think I am going to be more aggressive in the styles of beer we’re going to make. That all depends on who we get as a brewer, but I would like to get away from the mainstream styles and experiment. But again, that depends on who’s making the beer, because I don’t know how to brew.”

The goal is “a brewery that really puts Buffalo on the map, nationally,” Shatzel said. “Whether I am able to accomplish that, I have no idea. But that’s the goal.”

Given permitting requirements and brewery regulations, the brewery won’t be under way till 2016, he said.

Reuben’s becoming Risa’s: The owner of Risa’s is taking over the former Reuben’s N.Y. Deli in Amherst.

Risa Paonessa, owner of Jewish-deli-style restaurants in Buffalo, will be working on opening in the Amherst space, at 714 Maple Road. Hopefully the new location will be open by the end of the summer, she said. Reuben’s closed in May.

The menu will be largely identical to Risa’s, 285 Delaware Ave.

It will include sandwiches like corned beef, whitefish salad and chopped liver; soups like matzo ball soup and sweet-and-sour cabbage, and salads. “We’ll probably do a little bit of expansion, things like potato pancakes, kasha varnishkes, noodle kugel, things like that.”

Paonessa had opened a second location in North Tonawanda, but she’s closed that site, she said.

Neapolitan pizza truck: The O.G. Wood Fire pizza truck has added more pizza to Buffalo’s mobile dining choices with an artfully charred Neapolitan-style pie the owner calls “world-class.”

Jay Langfelder, a former casino chef, started his pizza career at 18 as a Bocce’s dough wrangler. In Arizona, he worked with Jamie Culliton, a famed American pizzaiolo who’s on the U.S. Pizza Team.

Since he rolled out his truck on July 4, Langfelder has done his best to raise the bar on Buffalo pizza. “They call Buffalo a pizza town but that’s only because there’s a lot of pizzerias. A lot of them are doing the same old thing, buying dough and putting Redpack (canned tomato sauce) on it, and calling it pizza,” he said. “This is a whole ’nother level.”

He calls his work “modern American Neapolitan,” he said, drawing on the best ingredients and techniques from Italy and America.

“I’m making handmade dough, no mixer, and natural leavening, which is sort of a sourdough,” he said. “I’m using imported 00 flour, imported from Italy. It’s unmalted, which allows you to cook at a lot higher temperatures and not burn your pizza, which gives it a different texture.”

An oven that reaches 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit means “I’m cooking these pizzas in 60 to 80 seconds,” he said. “If you’re throwing a log in an oven and cooking a pizza in five or six minutes, there’s really no point in even using a wood-fired oven at that rate.

“If I don’t have an event booked, like a farmers market or food truck rodeo, I’ll be doing the usual spots, Elmwood or Parkside,” he said. Hungry people can track the truck on Twitter at @OGWoodfire, or on Facebook.

Tonawanda Chinese: Mandarin Garden, a new Chinese restaurant, opened July 27 in Tonawanda. The address, 1400 Niagara Falls Blvd., was last a Pizza Hut. See for the menu.

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