The Irish Times restaurant, across the street from Coca-Cola Field, is getting a sweeping renovation and a new name under new ownership.
The building, 38 Swan St., has been purchased by Nick Giammusso, owner of ticket brokerage VIPTix.com, and Bill Chiodo, an executive with Acosta foodservice brokerage.
“The place now is really an event bar, with people pregaming before the Bisons and Sabres, and it has a good lunch crowd,” said Giammusso. “Since the McGinty’s days it’s been in decline, and we plan on bringing it back to life. We’re going to upgrade it from top to bottom.”
The restaurant remains open, and will be renamed The Union Pub in 2017 after renovations, Giammusso said. He’s hoping for June, but after overseeing the renovation of 505 Main St., he said, he knows old buildings can hold surprises that cause delays.
The structure was built in 1864 as a livery stable. Decades later, it was home to an ironworker union hall during the construction of the nearby Ellicott Square Building, inspiring its new name, said Giammusso.
The drinks menu will be expanded with more draft beer, wine, margaritas and other cocktails. The food will start with Buffalo basics like wings and weck, he said, but add more salads and build into a tavern-plus menu.
Currently only the first floor is used, but The Union Pub’s main area will be the second floor. “The upstairs is going to be more of a lounge, and we’re going to put big fireplace in,” plus a VIP room, he said, for a total of about 100 seats. The first floor will have seating for another 40.
Remodeling starts in January, with the kitchen and first floor. “Then put on a new roof, so we’ll be at the mercy of the weather,” Giammusso said. “Ideally we’d like to be open for the beginning of baseball, but I want to be realistic.”
It’ll be June, if all goes well, and it’ll be worth the wait, he said. “It’s a diamond in the rough.”
New Amherst barbecue: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, a franchise restaurant operation that started in Dallas, has opened its first Western New York outpost in Amherst.
The restaurant, at 3220 Sheridan Drive, opened Dec. 1 in the plaza at Sheridan and Bailey, just west of Walmart. It’s a fast-casual restaurant, where customers join a line, tell the counter staff what they want, and walk away with a tray of food. There are no servers, and no alcohol.
There are more than 500 Dickey’s locations from coast to coast. Before the Amherst store opened, the closest was in Erie, Pa.
The emphasis is on meat smoked fresh daily, including sausage, pulled pork and spare ribs, brisket and chicken breast, said assistant manager Sarah Long. The menu includes sandwiches ($6-7), meats sold by the pound (brisket: $17), and ribs by the half rack ($12.95). Bowl choices include Velveeta-like mac and cheese topped with brisket ($8.50).
Owner Abban Westby, who is also an owner of Average Joe’s, said he was looking to serve people looking for barbecue without the wait, and corporate customers looking for competitively priced barbecue catering.
“I have a 3-year-old daughter, and families don’t necessarily want to go into restaurants any more, and sit down and try to entertain, order appetizers and entrees and be there for a while.”
It’s open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Phone: 714-4110.
Orchard Park bakery rises: Kaylena Marie’s Bakery opened in Orchard Park in October, but the young baker behind the counter actually turned pro two years ago, as a high school junior.
Kaylena Eisenhauer started a wholesale bakery business from her home as a high school junior, serving clients like Delta Sonic and area restaurants, she said. After graduating from Orchard Park High School and taking a year of classes at Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, she opened her own place in October.
At 4236 North Buffalo Road, formerly Vincenzo’s Italian Ice, Eisenhauer offers Italian bread, cinnamon rolls ($4.50), cakes, cookies, Danishes and other ready-to-go baked items. Lunches include sandwiches on housemade bread ($10), soups, calzones and more.
The bakery is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and Friday, until 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday. Phone: 508-8491.