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Restaurant notes: Carte Blanche, Medici House, Honey's

Hamburg’s Buffalo Street Grill is turning into an upscale casual restaurant called Carte Blanche.

Following extensive interior renovations at 61 Buffalo St., the restaurant will double its seating with a second-story space including a second bar, said Andrew Murtha, Hamburg Hospitality Group general manager. There’s also plans for a second-story deck above the alleyway alongside the building.

Working with owners Tim Sardinia and Pat McKee, Murtha hopes to have Carte Blanche open by summer.

“We feel like it’s time for Hamburg to graduate to a finer scale of dining, and we think it’s ready for it,” Murtha said. “We’re trying to show people something new, and make them feel comfortable at the same time.”

The menu isn’t set, but Murtha said he wanted to include as much locally raised produce as possible, and local pork. Getting locally raised pigs on the menu as smoked ham sandwiches and sausage is among his goals, he said.

A former executive chef at Tempo, Murtha led the opening of Juicy, the burger bar at 1 Buffalo St., in July. Carte Blanche will have about 86 seats, when Buffalo Street Grill had 40, he said.

Dining opportunities are looking up in Hamburg, as work continues on Grange Community Kitchen, around the corner at 22 Main St., from former Elm Street Bakery chef Brad Rowell.

Medici House closed: East Aurora restaurant Medici House closed after dinner Saturday, ending a 13-year run for a restaurant that started as Tantalus.

Owners John Rooney and Laurie Kutas will focus on the Yelling Goat, their Lancaster restaurant, 205 Central Ave. Some of the Ethiopian flavors from Thea’s, their Medici House side room, will continue on the Yelling Goat menu, Rooney said. “We’re gung-ho on the Goat,” he said. “It’s flying over there.”

He’ll be looking for another operator to take over the lease on the Medici House space at 634 Main St., he said.

Medici House in East Aurora closed unexpectedly. (Buffalo News file photo)

Medici House in East Aurora closed unexpectedly. (Buffalo News file photo)

Rooney said he was sorry to see Medici House end, especially for the people for whom it provided jobs. It had a staff of 45 or more, and “we couldn’t bring everybody” to the Lancaster location, he said.

Months of efforts to reduce costs and change the restaurant’s financial picture were unavailing, he said. A dramatic increase in East Aurora restaurant competition and rising costs, especially the state’s mandated minimum wage increase, made the decision inevitable, he said.

“We’ve had sleepless night after sleepless night looking at this thing, and did everything we could to invigorate it,” said Rooney. “But there was too much to allow us to function in a profitable fashion.”

Larkinville pop-ups: Experienced cooks will offer one-of-a-kind dinners in Larkinville this spring, in a pop-up dinner series called “Brick Oven No Pizza.”

It’s the series’ second season at Larkinville’s Hydraulic Hearth, 716 Swan St., co-sponsored by Buffalo Beer Goddesses, an organization of beer-loving Western New York women.

The first event was Feb. 29. “East Indies Meets South End,” featured dishes like heart of palm salad, conch fritters, jerk chicken and pineapple upside-down cake with ginger ice cream. It was offered by Emily Pierce-Delaney, who works at Nickel City Cheese & Mercantile, and runs pop-ups as Same Old Antics.

Teddy Bryant, third from left, will be the star of a Larkinville pop-up dinner. (Don Nieman/Special to The News)

Teddy Bryant, third from left, will be the star of a Larkinville pop-up dinner. (Don Nieman/Special to The News)

Kate Hey of Betty Crockski, a Polish specialist, offers “Dyngus Day Dinner” on March 28. Teddy Bryant, Lloyd Taco factory’s chef, has “Nacho Mama’s Cinco de Mayo” on April 25.

Tickets are $65 including tax and tip. Bar opens at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30. Order tickets through

Last Honey’s closed: Original Honey’s restaurant has closed its Amherst location at 4300 Maple Road, ending a 50-year restaurant story with its roots in Niagara Falls.

A sign posted on the door Feb. 20 thanked staff and patrons and outlined its reason for closing.

“In October 2015, Maryann Pacifico, owner of this establishment, had passed away suddenly. This unfortunate circumstance, in addition to the unjust media coverage due to a New York State sales tax mistake, which attributed to a great deal of negative press, has led to our decision to regrettably close this location to settle Maryann’s estate,” the sign read.

The Maple Road restaurant closed briefly in December after being seized by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for unpaid taxes.

The final Honey's location has closed.

The final Honey's location has closed.

The only other remaining Original Honey’s location, at 6560 Niagara Falls Blvd. near the Fashion Outlets of Niagara in Niagara Falls, closed last month. A former Honey’s general manager, Candice Creamer, is in the process of opening a new restaurant called Buffalo Wing Joint and Pub in the space.

Honey’s restaurant first opened in 1962 and was a mainstay in Niagara Falls’ “Little Italy” neighborhood on Pine Avenue near 27th Street. It was known for the giant, illuminated elephant sign outside the building. – Samantha Christmann

Closed: John & Mary’s, 2374 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda. Mighty Moe’s, 1900 Hertel Ave.

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