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Restaurant Notes: Latin fusion coming to Elmwood Avenue at end of November

A Latin fusion restaurant called Pasión is coming to the former Black Swan space on Elmwood Avenue.

Owner Yeslin Greason said she’s aiming to open by the end of November. Work is underway inside the building, at 153 Elmwood Ave.

“It’ll be Miami-inspired fare, with Cuban influence,” said Manuel Cruz, who grew up in Miami and will be the chef. There’ll be Cuban standards like ropa vieja and picadillo, but also dishes from Venezuela, Peru and other countries in the region. Roasted pork, arepas, croquetas and ceviche are all in the works, Cruz said.

Pasión will also offer a real Cuban sandwich, he said, even if he has to make his own Cuban bread. “If we have to bring it right from Miami, we’ll do it,” said Greason, who was born in Venezuela. “We have to make it happen. One of the things that we are proud of is that everything’s going to be authentic. We’re not trying to imitate certain dishes, or offer you a prototype of that it could be. We’re bringing you the real deal.”

The restaurant should seat about 70, Greason said. She plans to cover half of the patio out front and install an exterior bar for next summer.

It’s Greason’s first restaurant, but restaurants run in her family. Greason’s husband is Sergio Mucino, an owner of Don Tequila, Agave, El Agave Mexican restaurants, and the La Divina tacqueria and grocery.

“It’s a melting pot, that’s what it is,” she said. “You come here and you will be able to have a tour of Latin America, without buying a ticket, and try the food.”

Schimschacks closed: Schimschacks, the Pekin restaurant with one of the greatest views in Niagara County, has announced its closing after 40 years.


At 2943 Upper Mountain Road, Schimschacks’ dining room offered views that included, on clear days, Toronto skyscrapers.

After visiting in 2010, News restaurant critic Janice Okun wrote:

“If we’re going to list Western New York restaurants with remarkable views, we have to put Schimschacks in the top 2 percent.

Perched on top of the Niagara Escarpment, the restaurant is arranged on tiers yielding a far-flung view of fields and blossoming orchards. So lovely to look at, you could burst into song.

A chorus of “America the Beautiful” is definitely in order.

But that’s not all. Later in the evening when the sun goes down, handsome pewterlike candlesticks are lighted on every table and these reflect on the glass walls overlooking the fields. I tell you, it’s magical.”

Billy’s on Millersport: Billy’s Place opens this week after renovations, replacing Jack’s Place on Millersport Highway near the University at Buffalo’s North Campus.

The restaurant, at 1424 Millersport Highway, has gotten a thorough overhaul, said new owner Will Barrons Jr. “We gutted the whole thing and put in a brand-new floor, and a new kitchen,” he said.

On the menu, we’re keeping all the old favorites and adding some new stuff. In addition to the tavern menu with wings and burgers, “we’re adding steaks, pastas and seafood, and a fish fry that’s going to be out of this world,” said Barrons. The restaurant’s draft beer selection is also growing, from five taps to 10.

“We’re bringing the Niagara Falls-style wings there to Amherst, and I think they’ll really take off,” said the owner, whose restaurant is located between Duff’s and Elmo’s, as the wing flies.

What’s Niagara Falls-style wings? “Bigger than Amherst,” he said.

The bar has been open for several weeks, but he expects Billy’s to start serving food Wednesday, Oct. 28. It’ll have about 120 seats, and be open seven days, for lunch and dinner.

Pappas eyes 45: Pappas Bar and Grill has consolidated its interior design and added televisions as it approaches its 45th anniversary as a West Seneca family restaurant.

A separate barroom has been closed, and the bar moved into the dining room. The combined-duty space at 1780 Orchard Park Road is about 3,000 square feet, with about 110 dining seats.

“It was my father’s dream to open Pappas, and it’s become his legacy,” restaurateur John Pappas said in a press release. His father, Paul, who died in 2010, bought a German delicatessen in 1970 and turned it into “Pappas Texas Red Hots.” In November, the restaurant marks 45 years of service to West Seneca.

The menu has been changed to include more burgers and appetizers, said manager Bryan Hanson. Breakfast is served Friday through Sunday. Also new: 11 television screens for people looking for a place to watch the game.

Hamburg caterer: A Fredonia-based catering service is expanding into Erie County with a new facility in Hamburg on Nov. 14.

The Catering Company will open its fifth location at 43 Buffalo St. in the former Jimmie’s Pizza Co. It has three in sites in Fredonia and one in Dunkirk. The full-service caterer will also take over food operations for the Braymiller Lanes bowling alley next door.

The company does catering for corporate events, small and large banquets and formal affairs,

The owners are Krista Campano and Shaun Heenan. Their company is the exclusive caterer of several other properties, including the Vineyards at Rotunda in Fredonia, Blessed Mary Angela in Dunkirk and Barlow’s Mill in Fredonia. It also caters at the Grandview in Ellington, the Red House in Cassadaga and the Jamestown Historic Railroad Station. – Samantha Christmann

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