Jennifer Boye will be the chef leading Elm Street Bakery into its next phase.
Owner Jay DePerno said that after talking to a wide-ranging group of candidates to lead the East Aurora restaurant, “in the end, her interest and our compatibility won out.”
Brad Rowell, who led the restaurant’s first dinner program after being hired in 2014, will be leaving the restaurant, located at 72 Elm St., at the end of the year. He’s opening Grange Community Kitchen in Hamburg.
“Where Brad was the dinner or evening chef, Jennifer is going to come on as the executive chef of the entire operation, and bringing a team of people with her,” DePerno said. The restaurant’s emphasis on using the best local fruits, vegetables and meat will continue, he said.
Boye, executive chef at the Mansion on Delaware, will leave the Mansion at the end of the year, and take some time getting settled in East Aurora, DePerno said. Dinner service will probably be shut down for several weeks in January or thereabouts, he said, while the staff develops its relaunch plan.
Boye has been recognized as one of Buffalo’s up-and-coming chefs. The Cheektowaga native graduated Cleveland Hill High School in 1992 and was the chef at Fiddleheads on Allen Street before being hired by the boutique hotel in 2005. Since 2012, Boye has competed in Nickel City Chef, Buffalo’s live cooking competition, as part of the “home team.”
At Elm Street Bakery, “I don’t want to shake things up too much,” Boye said. “I want to tie in the dinner food with the great baked goods they serve during the day. I think it would be silly not to accentuate the breads and things like that, to turn them into something interesting and brand new.”
In the end, she wants the food “to reflect how the bakery makes me feel when I go in,” Boye said. “Warm and cozy, with this French sort of feel, if you will, great French countryside cooking. That’s what goes through my head, great cassoulet and ratatouille, things like that that would warm you up on a winter’s night in East Aurora.”
Boye’s extensive events experience is also a good fit for Elm Street Bakery’s plans to expand its operations into a neighboring property known as the General Riley House, at 644 Oakwood Ave., DePerno said. Permits aren’t final yet, but Executive Pastry Chef Luci Levere’s pastry operation and the coffee roaster will be moving into the building, and it will eventually become a venue for classes and events.
Fine Mexican coming: 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 underway, 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. Cooks will serve dishes to customers.
“That will give you a direct point of contact with the person that has been crafting the food,” Gonzales said.
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 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.”
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 remain in charge of Jaguar, 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.
Plans for Sinatra’s: Sinatra’s, the Kenmore Avenue star of Italian-American dining, is considering plans to demolish its building, and move into a new, bigger building across the street.
The current restaurant, at 938 Kenmore Ave., will make way for a parking lot, said John Sinatra, who opened the restaurant in 1981. The new place will be built across the street, in Tonawanda. He said the project would be led by his son, developer Nick Sinatra.
“Our plans our very conceptual at this point,” said Nick Sinatra. “We haven’t had a chance to speak with neighbors, customers, Town of Tonawanda elected officials, all the stakeholders. We more or less had a discussion at Thanksgiving about what we were going to do with the property across the street,” he said, adding that he was looking forward to getting feedback from stakeholders and talking to town officials about what would be possible.
(Hat tip: Mark Gaughan)
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