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Restaurant Notes: Renovated Oliver’s celebrates 80th anniversary with new chef, manager

Oliver’s celebrates its 80th anniversary next week by offering a menu of specials from its brand-new chef in its newly renovated Delaware Avenue space.

The restaurant, at 2095 Delaware Ave., was built in 1936. It’s the longest-lived fine dining restaurant in Buffalo. Owner David Schutte said the extensive updating aimed to refresh Oliver’s in a manner befitting the restaurant’s place in the Buffalo restaurant landscape.

“We have completely reconstructed our backbar, added new lighting, repainted and redecorated the entire dining room, and added numerous new pieces of beautiful artwork,” said Schutte, who bought the restaurant in 2013. “In addition to interior renovations, we have brought in some of the best young talent in the culinary scene in Buffalo,” he said.

Executive Chef Ross Warhol, and Brandon Ford as wine director and dining room manager, will carry on Oliver’s combination of innovation and quality, he said.

Ford, who is from Indianapolis, moved to Buffalo in 2007 to attend graduate school at the University at Buffalo before getting into the restaurant business.

Warhol, a Hamburg native, who started his culinary career at Daniels, was the Athenaeum Hotel’s chef before leaving the Chautauqua Institution landmark in 2013. He took over the kitchen at the Pelican Club, in Galveston, Texas, where he worked until earlier this year.

The anniversary menu will be based on menus from the restaurant’s past, updated with modern ingredients and technique, Warhol said. It will be offered for a weeklong celebration from May 23 through 29, except for May 25, when Oliver’s will close for an invitation-only party.

Allentown Italian: Last year, Michael Jacobbi’s Transit Road restaurant Carmine’s won a Taste of Buffalo award for its bacon-wrapped casino-stuffed shrimp on the same day it burned to the ground.

The day after, he said he wanted to rebuild his business in the city, not the suburbs. “I love all the stuff that is happening in Buffalo,” he said, “and I want to be part of the resurgence.”

In two weeks, if all goes well, he’ll get his wish. Giacobbi’s Cucina Citta, an upscale casual Italian restaurant, will open at 59 Allen St., a corner in Allentown formerly occupied by Presto and Café 59.

The fully stocked bar will have room for about 25, dining room seating for 65. He’s planning to be open all week, with lunch Monday through Friday.

Before operating Carmine’s on Transit Road, he also operated Giacobbi’s at Eggert Road and Main Street, he said. “We do casual Italian, good price points,” he said. “A family restaurant, but we’re also looking to get some of the, people who want a quick bite or a drink, eat at the bar.”

Why would a man named Jacobbi open a restaurant called Giacobbi’s? The answer has to do with righting a century-old error.

“It goes back to Ellis Island,” he said. “They made some changes back in the day, changed it to a ‘J.’ The Sicilian way of spelling it is with a ‘G-I-A,’ so we went back to that.”

Biryani for Clarence: Hyderabad Biryani House, offering South Indian food including specialties of Hyderabad, expects to open on Transit Road at the end of May.

The restaurant, 5445 Transit Road, Clarence, is named after the capital of the southern Indian state of Telangana. Run by an Indian couple, it will offer Hyderabad-style layered biryanis, dosas and other specialties, said Ravi Atluri, husband of owner Bhargavi Godavarthi.

Niagara Falls deli: Scipione’s, the longtime Pine Avenue caterer, has started serving lunch and dinner from its Pine Avenue storefront. Salads, chili, soups and sandwiches are on offer, including ones based on Scipione’s own Italian sausage. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except Sundays. Phone: 285-8686.

Cooks for Books: Town of Tonawanda’s volunteer-run Brighton Place Library will hold its annual fundraising event, featuring wines, beers and food stations, at 6 p.m. May 26 in Banchetti by Rizzo’s, 550 North French Road, Amherst. Tickets, $50 are available at the library, 332-4375. This year’s chefs include Krista Van Wagner of Krista’s Caribbean Kitchen, Jeff Levea of Banchetti by Rizzo’s and Jerry O’Neil of Rizotto Ristorante.

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