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Youngstown Mexican chef opening 2nd restaurant in Buffalo

Victor Parra Gonzalez, a chef who has won a following for his Mexican-influenced fine dining in Youngstown, is working on a restaurant on Buffalo’s West Side.

The new place, Las Puertas, will feature Gonzalez’s Mexican flavors, expressed with even more French technique, he said. Construction is under way, Gonzalez said, and he hopes to open in the spring.

The building, 385 Rhode Island St., used to be a single-family home, but it’s commercially zoned, Gonzalez said. It will have about 35 seats, and an open kitchen. Making the experience even more intimate, cooks will serve dishes to customers, Gonzalez said. “That will give you a direct point of contact with the person that has been crafting the food.”

Gonzalez has launched an IndieGogo fundraising campaign for his proposed restaurant. He said he has enough money to complete construction and open, but is seeking $40,000 to give his new operation a financial cushion if business starts slow at the new location.

“We have the majority of the funds to be able to open,” he said. “This would be to get us over the hump if nobody shows up at the door.”

The Acapulco-born chef opened Jaguar at the Bistro in Youngstown two years ago, with his mother Olivia Polin and sister Diana Parra. Parra will lead Jaguar's kitchen, he said, and he’ll be working there full-time until it’s time to start working at Las Puertas. The plan is to keep both restaurants open, he said.

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