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Restaurant notes: Lake Effect Ice Cream, Black Sheep, Village Greek

Lake Effect Ice Cream is opening its second scoop shop this spring, on Hertel Avenue.

The Lockport-based company has been dishing up cones, sundaes and more from its Lockport parlor, 79 Canal St., since 2013.

By Memorial Day, owners Erik Bernardi and Jason Wulf expect to open at 1900 Hertel Ave., formerly Vasili's Express. That makes three new ice cream places expected on Hertel this summer, following announcements from Allen Street Poutine and Lloyd Taco Factory.

"We know that a lot of people travel to get to us" in Lockport, Wulf said. If Lake Effect fans are willing to drive that far, "we thought we should be able to do pretty good on Hertel."

The new shop will offer everything the Lockport store does – more than 20 flavors of ice cream, cakes, novelties, and shakes. "It'll have all the flavors, and we may do some custom flavors for that area," said Wulf.

The company also recently completed its purchase of a 7,000-square-foot Lockport building to use for production and ice cream storage, he said. "We have a new 20-by-40-food freezer built in it, and are putting in a new kitchen."

[Check out the Warm Front Floats Lake Effect introduced this fall]

Lake Effect Ice Cream is also available at area stores, including about 30 Wegmans and Tops supermarkets.

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Ellen and Steven Gedra, owners of The Black Sheep, are 2017 James Beard Award semi-finalists.

The Gedras  are among 20 solo chefs or duos named in the Best Chef: Northeast category of the 2017 nominations list. The category covers New York State outside New York City, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine and Vermont.

The duo took over Bistro Europa on Elmwood Avenue in 2010, then opened their restaurant at 367 Connecticut St. in 2014. Steven Gedra's eclectic, frequently changing menu draws on locally raised meat and vegetables, international flavors and original ideas.

Ellen Gedra's baking and dessert skills, on display nightly, at Sunday brunch and in her much acclaimed sticky toffee pudding, have become their own draw.

[Read: Andrew Galarneau's 2015 review of The Black Sheep]

Last year, the Gedras led their kitchen team to present dinner at the James Beard House, the Greenwich Village culinary showcase.

The next step in the James Beard Awards, the preeminent annual honors of the U.S. restaurant world, will be the announcement of finalists in each category on March 15.

[Read: Gedras' James Beard dinner and background on the cooking couple]

Mike Andrzejewski, owner of Seabar and Cantina Loco, was Buffalo's last entrant on the Beard semifinalist list, in 2009 and 2010. The Anchor Bar won an America's Classics designation in 2003.

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On Feb. 28, Taste of Education offers dinner and a show while showcasing the work of Western New York's next generation of culinary talent.

It's a buffet dinner of creative bites combined with an Iron-Chef-style cooking competition. High school level culinary students from Angola Carrier Educational Center, Orleans Niagara Educational Center and Sanborn BOCES will offer samples of a dizzying variety of dishes.

Thai chicken egg rolls, Reuben fritters, pork belly chicharrones, poached pears with honey-lavender cream, are among the dozens of dishes culinary students will present.

Then three chefs - Krista Van Wagner, Jean White and Alex Dispense - will go head-to-head, assisted by students, with their efforts at showcasing a secret ingredient evaluated by a panel of judges.

[RELATED: Trained in 'Hell,' Van Wagner talks hot sauces]

The 13th annual event, run by the New York State Restaurant Association’s Western New York chapter, raises money for scholarships to support local culinary students involved in the national ProStart culinary competition. So far, the event has underwritten $85,000 in scholarships.

It’s at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens, 6461 Transit Road, Depew. Tickets, $25, are available at the door or online.

*****

For years, Sandy Siradis helped stock the market at the Buffalo Greek Fest.

The market made Greek oils, spices, candies and other products not usually found at retail available three days a year, at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church's festival.

Fellow Greeks were used to driving to Toronto to re-stock, Siradis said. "The non-Greeks would ask me, 'Where are we going to buy this stuff after the festival?' And I would say, 'One of these years I'm going to open something.'"

In September, she did. With her husband John, Siradis opened The Village Greek, 5472 Broadway St., Lancaster. It's a Greek market and restaurant that serves a small menu of souvlaki, salads, soup, baked goods and more for lunch and dinner. Prices top out at $8.99.

"We have a very small menu, but all of the Greek specialties everybody always asks for," she said. Gyro sandwiches, spanakopita (spinach pie) and tiropita (cheese pie), plus dips like tzatziki (yogurt-cucumber) and taramasalata (mullet roe) all make regular menu appearances.

There's also baklava and kourabiedes (Greek wedding cookies), rice pudding and other housemade Greek sweets.

Siradis, a hairdresser by trade, decided to make the leap to market owner when she and her husband were talking about "semi-retiring."

"We thought, this is the perfect time for us to do something different," she said.

The Village Greek is open for lunch and dinner, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Phone: 472-3011.

*****

Tandoori's is closing, ending 25 years as one of the area's leading Indian restaurants.

"After almost 26 years of rewarding work we have decided to close Tandoori's and The Palms Banquets and retire from the fine-dining restaurant and banquet businesses," owners Rita and Ravi Sabharwal said in a statement. "We will be closing both the restaurant and banquet this Sunday, February 19, 2017 after our dinner service at Tandoori’s."

The Sabharwals opened their restaurant on Delaware Avenue in 1991, where Snooty Fox is today. Tandoori's moved to 7740 Transit Road, Amherst, in 1999, and added its banquet facility in 2001. Their company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, planning to remain open during the reorganization process.

Parties that have put down deposits on events have been notified, and deposit refunds are underway, the statement said.

[Read: Andrew Galarneau's 2016 8-plate review of Tandoori's]

"Against many odds our restaurant grew and business flourished in times when many ethnic cuisines did not here," the Sabharwals said, thanking customers and staff for its success. "We could not have made it this long without your loyal patronage and feel so very blessed to have shared our cuisine and special dining experience with all of you for so long."

The couple also held out the possibility that another owner would take over: "Stay tuned!"

 

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