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Digital ordering to speed orders at new Ted’s downtown

The downtown location of Ted’s Hot Dogs will harness digital technology to get hot dogs into customers’ hands faster.

The restaurant, at 124 W. Chippewa St., is about half built, said Ted’s CEO Joe Drust. “We hope to open up the first or second week of November,” he said, “pending no other delays.”

To cater to the downtown lunchtime crowd, Ted’s is installing an order-over-the-Internet system similar to Chipotle. Customers can order over computer or phone. If they give the website their credit card, they can get their food swiftly, Drust said. “Walk in, grab the bag, confirm who they are, and walk out.”

Another speed tweak for the downtown location will be the addition of a tablet-wielding order-taker in the customer line, Drust said. That change will allow dogs to hit the grill even faster than waiting to talk to the grill worker, which has been the Ted’s standard.

Those innovations will be only at the downtown location, for now, said Drust.

Work will also continue on a patio that wraps around the building to the parking lot, on the other side of the building from Chippewa. In an homage to Ted’s birthplace under the Peace Bridge, the patio railing design has been inspired by the Peace Bridge design, Drust noted.

Local meat market reopens: Closed by fire nine months ago, a Niagara County butcher shop and meat market has reopened with help from its regular customers.

“With the help of many, many customers and friends, we made it,” said Frank Dispenza, who owns the place with his wife Rachel. “They helped us pay our mortgage and gave us the momentum to keep going.”

Dispenza’s Meat Market, 3130 Ridge Road, Ransomville, was back in business Saturday, serving up steaks and chops. It’s one of the only retail stores offering Niagara-County-raised meat, in addition to other products.

The January fire did about $250,000 in damage to the market’s refrigeration system, structure, and stock, said Dispenza. Unable to get their insurance claim paid, the Dispenzas took other work while gathering resources to reopen, Frank Dispenza said. He and his wife have worked at Carmelo’s in Lewiston, and he started teaching a meat marketing class at Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.

Besides Niagara County meat, hormone-free meat is available, usually including steaks like bone-in ribeye, porterhouse and the rarely spotted bone-in chuck roast. Pork includes chops, boneless or bone-in stuffed pork chops, pork butts and tenderloins. Dispenza said he’s trying to make the shop a hub for local farm products, and carries local eggs, and low-temperature-pasteurized milk from Teacup Farm in Barker. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Phone: 791-3400.

Still open: Vizzi’s, the family-run Kenmore tavern, continues to serve up its cheeseburgers and beef on weck as another Sabres season starts. Its owners are still looking for a buyer.

Now open: A new Chinese and pan-Asian restaurant named Crystal Asian Cuisine has opened in the former Uncle John’s No. 1 space, 267 Grover Cleveland Highway.

Owner Jack Lin, who also owns Chopsticks on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus, opened up the adjoining space, formerly a laundromat, for a new dining room.

The menu has been expanded as well. It includes a combination of American-Chinese and more authentic dishes, plus Japanese udon, Thai curry and Korean bibimbap rice bowls. There’s also a weekend dim sum lunch menu. Phone: 836-0826.

Hero opens: Hero Burger opened on Elmwood Avenue on Saturday, at 976 Elmwood Ave., corner of Bidwell Parkway, the former Zetti’s Pizza. The Canadian premium burger chain features range-fed Canadian beef raised without hormones.

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