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Authentic Spanish tapas place eyes February opening

Aro Bar de Tapas, a restaurant that aims to introduce authentic Spanish tapas to the Buffalo region, is about a month away from opening in the Williamsville Place plaza.

The restaurant, 5415 Sheridan Drive, Amherst, will seat about 100, including 15 at the bar, said Scott Kollig, executive chef and partner. “We expect to be fully operational in a month,” he said.

Kollig, who has worked for Jose Andres at minibar in DC, and Wylie Dufresne’s WD-50 in Manhattan, grew up in Clarence. His wife Monica, a pastry chef, and food blogger and tech editor Jeremy Horwitz are also partners.

After going to Spain for research, Kollig drafted an opening menu of classic tapas. They include gambas al ajillo (shrimp, garlic, chile de árbol, sherry; patatas bravas (crispy potatos, garlic aioli, pimento); sopa de ajo (garlic, broth, crostini, almond); and croquetas de jamon (Spanish ham, béchamel, crispy panko).

“We certainly wanted to bring the greatest hits, if you will, to Western New York,” Kollig said. “Not only some of the most authentic, but some of the most delicious.”

Aro will also aim to encourage Spanish-style meals. Dining is “meant to be an experience, centered around a group of people, and we want to bring that experience here,” he said. “I don’t think family-style dining and sharing has quite caught on as much as it has in Europe, and Spain in particular.”

The place will serve lunch and dinner six days a week, closed Mondays. The full bar will delve into sherry, sipping vermouth and gin and tonics, “a whole culture in Spain, that are done a very certain way,” Kollig said. “It’s quite a spectacle to witness, and to drink.”

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