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Restaurant Notes: McDuffies Bakery, MidTown Kitchen, Panaro’s cannoli truck

The restaurateurs responsible for MidTown Kitchen are opening another restaurant down the block, in the former Ambrosia space. And they’ve got more places in the works.

The ex-Ambrosia address, 467 Elmwood Ave., was most recently Habibi Sheesha Lounge, which was closed in 2015.

What kind of restaurant will it be? That hasn’t been determined yet, said Charles Barone, a partner.

“All I will say is that it will definitely compliment the new development of the 400 block,” Barone said. “The concept is something that Tommy and I have always wanted to do.” 

Barone’s partners are Thomas Cowan, Samantha Soltis and William Paladino. Besides MidTown Kitchen, the group is also working on places at 301 Ohio St. and in Williamsville’s Wyndham Garden hotel. With Scott Petch, they have already opened The Dock in Blasdell, on the site of the former Dock at the Bay.

The group has been on a restaurant-opening roll, seeing plenty of opportunities in Buffalo’s evolving taste for restaurants.

“Buffalo is raising the bar with food and beverage,” Barone said. “We have a passion for both and want to be a part of the evolving times.”

The group has “turned away a few properties that just were not a fit for us,” but couldn’t pass up the chance to open another place down the block from MidTown Kitchen, he said.

The property at 301 Ohio St. is in another developing area that “we are extremely excited to be involved in,” Barone said. “There is so much going on down there.”

The five-story Ellicott Development building at 301 Ohio St. will have 21 apartments on the top three floors, one floor of office space, and restaurants on the ground floor, including Buffalo Beach Club.

Planned features include floor-to-ceiling doors to open the space in good weather, with “elevated cabana-style seating as well as cocktail tables and loungers,” Barone said.

A full bar is planned, and a short bar-food menu to complement the outdoor theme. Sand games like horseshoes, cornhole and KanJam are also part of the plan. Look for it to open as soon as weather permits in 2017, Barone said.

The group also will take over the Brioso hotel restaurant space at 5195 Main St., Williamsville. A new name, design and concept are in the works for late August or early September, he said.

At 467 Elmwood Ave., the design process is underway, and the plan is for an early fall opening, Barone said.

Adrian Bylewski, MidTown Kitchen’s executive chef, will be responsible for the kitchen at 467 Elmwood as well.

Casino steakhouse update: The Western Door Steakhouse at Seneca Niagara Casino officially unveiled a $5 million renovation July 7 aimed at making it one of the nation’s top steakhouses.

“Quite simply, the Western Door stands with the best steakhouses in the country,” Seneca Gaming chief executive officer Audrey Oswell said in a release. “Guests are going to be amazed by how we have elevated the entire dining experience, from the atmosphere and décor to the food and service.”

The high-roller favorite among the casino’s nine eating venues had been closed since February. A complete overhaul, including replacement of decor, includes the addition of a less-formal bistro room and bar in the former waiting area.

The bistro will offer “lighter fare” like a salad with steak and fries ($16), fried chickpeas with yogurt ($8) and “Buffalo style” cauliflower ($14). Additions to the steakhouse menu include a smoked salmon appetizer ($18), 12-ounce Australian Wagyu strip ($65), and a 16-ounce bone-in strip ($64).

Bistro and steakhouse are open seven days, with the bistro section open later.

The Western Door opened in the Seneca Niagara Casino in 2004, a year after the Seneca Nation turned the former Niagara Falls Convention Center into a casino.

Cannoli truck: Fresh off Best in Buffalo honors at Taste of Buffalo, Panaro’s has announced that a food truck will take its cannoli to the masses.

Previously, its sponge candy caramel cannoli and other varieties were only available at the lunch-only restaurant, 571 Delaware Ave., and at events.

Hopefully by the end of August, The Rolling Cannoli will take its place alongside other food trucks at Western New York events, said Panaro’s owner Mike Concialdi.

Follow The Rolling Cannoli on Twitter at @RollingCannoli to find out where and when.

McDuffies to East Aurora: McDuffies Bakery is bringing its famous pot pies and shortbread cookies to downtown East Aurora.

The family bakery will open a store at 718 Main St., “about three buildings down from Vidler’s,” on July 30, said owner Brian Thomas. “We will have frozen pot pies, short bread, all our pastry offerings,” he said.

The plans have been in the works for about a year. McDuffies, named for Thomas’ mother’s family, has developed a fan base at the East Aurora farmers market, he said. He said the bakery will continue at the farmers market this year, and will make a decision about continuing at the market next year.

The East Aurora store won’t offer full breakfast and lunch, but will have frozen pot pies, (chicken, chicken cheddar broccoli, steak and Guinness, chicken curry, chicken fiesta and seafood,) steam-baked artisan breads, pastries, homemade soups and shortbread.

The shop is expected to be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, and probably will be closed on Sundays.

– Barbara O’Brien

Hertel lounge sold: Shadow Lounge, 1504 Hertel Ave., will close after last call Saturday and reopen as Burning Buffalo, hopefully in mid-September.

Owners Patti and John Macaluso are moving on. “Thanks, WNY, for 18 great years,” Patti Macaluso said.

The Macalusos, who formerly operated Macaroon’s in Depew, opened on Hertel in 1998, as Mac’s City Bar. They continue to operate Adam’s Rib in Snyder.

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