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Restaurant Notes: Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen, Zoe, Nickel City Cheese

Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen, a new restaurant in a historic Lewiston location, will open to the public on Monday.

As its name suggests, its signature serving will be thin-crust pizza baked in the heat of burning coal, a New York City specialty. Its opening menu will offer more Italian-American classics like meatballs, polenta and eggplant, plus housemade pastas.

The restaurant is located at 800 Center St., last an automobile repair shop. It was once the site of Hustler’s Tavern, reputedly where the term “cocktail” was invented. “Gallo” is Italian for rooster.

Behind the restaurant are David Murphy, former sous chef at fine dining standout Carmelo’s, and Michael Hibbard, a member of the family that owns Lewiston’s Hibbard’s Original Frozen Custard.

The restaurant will have about 62 seats, a full bar, including 10 draft beer taps, and a 12-space parking lot. Wood on its exterior and lining its dining room has been repurposed from a circa-1929 barn from Albion, Pa.

Plans are to open seven days a week, at least at first, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The phone number is 405-7596.

Greek restaurant expands: Zoe, the frequently crowded Greek family restaurant on Transit Road in Amherst, is preparing to move into a larger space.

The building next door will become the new Zoe, with even more Greek dishes on the menu.

“We expanded that building with a bigger year-round patio, bigger space inside, a full bar and an enormous kitchen,” said owner Alex Pozantidis. “It’s the space that we always needed.”

The old building will be demolished as part of a parking lot expansion, Pozantidis said. The former lot, difficult to navigate, was often full. “It will open up to over 100 spots for us.”

When the dust settles, Zoe will be able to offer about 150 dining seats, up from 100.

Construction began in March. The new place should be ready to serve dinner. “We should be ready to move over Aug. 1, for dinner.

New lamb specials like roasted lamb in phyllo, Greek-inflected appetizers like mussels in ouzo broth with feta, and healthy options like quinoa salad will expand the menu.

“We’ve always been bottlenecked next door. The restaurant needed to come into the future a little bit, it had become outdated, from systems to décor. Now we’re state-of-the-art, but still family-oriented,” Pozantidis said. “It was time for phase two.”

Cheese shop spawns restaurant: A new restaurant is taking shape in the former Martin Cooks space on Connecticut Street, aiming to open in August.

Nickel City Cheese & Mercantile owner Jill Gedra Forster will move her store into the Horsefeathers building, 346 Connecticut St., next week.

There, customers will find the same array of fine cheese, sandwiches and gourmet groceries that Forster has offered at 423 Elmwood Ave. since 2012. The move will take place Sunday, and Forster hopes to reopen in the new space on July 28. If all goes well, Forster said, the restaurant will open in August.

Then, Forster will focus on opening Lait Cru Brasserie, her first restaurant. It will be an all-day restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The chef is Will Petersen, formerly of the Black Sheep and Park Country Club.

“The cheese shop needed to evolve,” Forster said. “People would say, these sandwiches are great, but I really want to sit down.” A patio at the Elmwood site was available during good weather, but that was no solace in February.

“The cheese shop will open first, with the restaurant to follow,” Forster said. “We’ll have retail on one side, and the brasserie on the other.”

If all goes well, the restaurant will have beer and wine, and later liquor.

It will have about 45 seats. “We deconstructed the bar that was there and made it one long bar, which opened up dining space,” Forster said.

Lloyd brunch: Lloyd Taco Factory has joined the Hertel Avenue brunch brigade, with a menu that goes far beyond breakfast burritos.

Customers can ask for some of the specials Lloyd Taco Factory Chef Teddy Bryant introduced at Lloyd’s brunch stint outside Buffalo Proper last year.

Lloyd brunch choices include kimchi fried rice with hoisin glazed cottage bacon and a fried egg ($6.99), and K-uevos rancheros, with tostadas, two eggs, organic black beans, avocado and cilantro ($6.99). On the sweet side, there’s churro French toast, built with a custom-baked BreadHive loaf, with sweet crema and local maple syrup for dipping ($6.99).

Sunday hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the restaurant, 1503 Hertel Ave.

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