The highly anticipated Grange Community Kitchen in Hamburg will open its doors to the public July 9.
At 22 Main St., Hamburg natives Brad and Caryn Rowell want to give their town more than food and drink, Brad Rowell said. “We’re trying to be a community hub for this area,” Rowell said. “A place where you can come in, grab a cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich in the morning, maybe a business meeting or meet family for lunch.”
Their building, built in 1892, later became a Grange hall, a gathering place for farmers and families when agriculture was a bigger part of town life. After work, Rowell said, Grange Community Kitchen will offer happy hour, or dinner and some cocktails. It will present food made mostly from local vegetables, meat and fruit, said Rowell. All bread and rolls will be baked at the restaurant.
Renovations to the building, which formerly housed Tina’s Italian Kitchen, have restored its façade and created an airy café-casual interior, with marble countertops, white tile and blond wood. The first-floor dining room holds 72 seats, with windows that open onto Main Street.
The starting menu includes small plates like pickles ($6), Parmesan cheese puffs called gougeres ($6), lamb ribs with yogurt, marinated stone fruit and chile oil ($9), and crispy potatoes with garlic mayonnaise ($6).
Pizzas ($12-$16) will be thin-crust sourdough style, fired in a 900-degree pizza oven. There’s a pork sandwich with broccoli rabe pesto and pickled vegetable giardiniera ($13).
Large plates include roasted Atlantic swordfish with pea puree, lentils and pea shoots ($21) and a brick half chicken with chickpeas, tahini yogurt and laffa bread ($22).
There will be a full bar with custom cocktails, and eight draft beer taps, most featuring local brews.
Rowell’s last kitchen job was chef at Elm Street Bakery in East Aurora. David McMurray, formerly of The Black Sheep and Bourbon & Butter, will be general manager. Emily Savage, formerly of Elm Street Bakery, will be pastry chef.
Hours: breakfast 7:30 to 11 a.m.; lunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday, Monday. Happy hour 4:30 to 6 p.m. Phone: 648-0022.
The restaurant will start taking reservations by July 1, by phone or through its website at grangecommunitykitchen.com. Its opening will mark the second ambitious new restaurant to open in Hamburg in a month: Carte Blanche opened at 61 Buffalo St. on June 14.
Lockport stand open: Widewaters Drive-In is doing well in its return to business after a three-year closure, the co-owner’s son said last week.
“Lunch gets very packed. It’s steady or it’s packed,” Matthew Mulvey said recently at the stand, located at 767 Market St., Lockport. It was acquired by his father, Timothy W. Mulvey, and James V. Kane in a foreclosure sale last year.
Weekends are especially busy. “Sundays after church it’s packed,” said Eliza Serth, one of about 20 employees.
The burger, hot dog and ice cream spot shut down after a flash flood in a severe rainstorm June 28, 2013.
The building, across Market Street from the city marina, was expanded to include an enlarged indoor dining area and better restrooms. A restroom accessible directly from outdoors is expected to be ready next month. There are picnic tables, playground equipment and a nature trail on the property.
Matthew Mulvey said plans are to remain open until sometime in December, close for the winter and reopen around mid-March. The eatery is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. - Thomas J. Prohaska
Inflatable pub: The blow-up bar known as Johnny Mac’s kicked off its summer tour Friday during Grand Island’s summer concert series.
“I saw it in Boston a couple summers ago and it seemed like a crazy outrageous idea,” said Corey McGowan, who owns a special events production company. “People were loving it. So I did a little more research on it and there were a couple other cities doing it as well. This summer I purchased our own unit.”
Once fully inflated, the Irish-looking pub can fit as many as 90-100 people. It has standing bar tables inside and offers an array of beer and wine, as well as Jack Daniel’s bottled mixed drinks.
The pub measures 50 feet by 30 feet and has a ceiling 27 feet high. It can’t be air conditioned, but “it’s wide open space,” McGowan said. “You got cut out windows so air blows right through it.”
The curious can find it Wednesday night (June 29), back at Music in the Park, Grand Island Town Commons, 2255 Baseline Road, or by checking coreymcgowan.com. - Nick Veronica
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