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Restaurant notes: Misuta Chow's, Falafel Bar, Just Pizza

A three-story bar-arcade is coming to downtown Buffalo, offering a mix of drinks, Asian-inspired eats and classic video games.

At 521 Main St., Misuta Chow's will offer an experience "old school meets new school Japan, pulling elements from Tokyo City’s Yokocho Alley to the new beyond modern and futuristic Robot Bar," a press release said.

The first two floors should be open by the end of summer, the release said, with a third-floor club to follow.

The second floor will be the gaming zone, with 1980s favorites like Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and Centipede, plus pinball machines and pool tables.

The release named three partners in Misuta (Japanese for "mister") Chow's. Johny Chow is a professional bassist with alt-metal group Stone Sour and general manager at Allen Burger Venture. Christi Allen is director of operations for Shatzel Group, the restaurant group that includes places like Thin Man Brewery, Coles and The Terrace.

Lorenz Wustner has extensive restaurant experience, including helping open Colter Bay, Allen Burger Venture, and the expansion of Pano's, the release said.

Dunbar Berdine, Dockside Bar and Grill chef, will help develop the menu. It'll include bento boxes, banh mi sandwiches and dumplings, and lettuce wraps, with an emphasis on organic and local ingredients when possible.

Drinks will include 24 draft beers, classic cocktails, whiskey, bourbon and sake concentrations, cold-pressed coffee and retro sodas like Tab.

Falafel Bar food returns:  Ten months after Israeli chef Oded Rauvenpoor closed Falafel Bar, he's offering tastes of the popular Mediterranean restaurant's menu at Fables, in the downtown library.

Rauvenpoor has operated Fables since 2015, offering a menu of soups, salads and sandwiches. He's considering opening a new restaurant in Buffalo, but for the summer will be offering his Mediterranean fare through Fables, then in a food truck expected to debut this summer.

"I bought a truck, and we're putting a Falafel Bar truck out," Rauvenpoor said. "That should be ready in a month or a half."

In the meantime, Fables, the second-floor café in the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, 1 Lafayette Square, will add to choices like hummus platters. There will be falafel, babaganoush, souvlaki wraps and salads, and the popular "Three Sisters sandwich," combining hummus, gyro and fried eggplant.

The food truck will have Falafel Bar's best hits, including much of the Fables Mediterranean lineup and a chicken schnitzel sandwich, Rauvenpoor said.

[Read: That chicken schnitzel is a dish whose comeback would cheer many]

He's also working on an app for the Falafel Bar truck, aimed at allowing people to order from the truck menu, pay online and pick up food from a dedicated pickup window to avoid the truck's main line. "I want to give an option so you can order and not wait," he said.

Fans can follow along on the truck's progress by checking the Falafel Bar Facebook page for details and videos, he said.

Just Pizza adds drive-through: With its ninth location, the Just Pizza pizzeria chain is planning a first for the chain: a drive-through window for slice customers.

"Pizza by the slice, it's there, it's ready, and we offer a pretty good variety," said Mark Campanella, the company's vice president for marketing and franchise development. "It's a convenience – you don't have to get out of your car and head into the store."

The building, at 2250 Colvin Blvd., in the Colvin-Eggert Plaza was last a Dunkin Donuts store.

Just Pizza will be closing its 151 Division St., North Tonawanda location, and moving the operation to the plaza, Campanella said.

"The traffic pattern off the Colvin Extension doesn't allow the in-and-out access of some of our other locations," he said. "It's an inconvenience for customers."

Seven Just Pizza locations are owned by franchisees, he said. Two - the Division Street location and its 300 Elmwood Ave. flagship store - are owned by the company.

With the plaza full, and the traffic headed to I-290's Exit 2, lots of potential customers will see the sign, Campanella said. The restaurant will carry the basic Just Pizza menu of pizza, wings and, a few sandwiches and finger food.

The new location should be ready to open in July, he said. The Division Street location will close a few days before the new shop is open, he said. The phone number, 743-1100, will not change.

Caffe Espresso closes: Caffe Espresso, the Italian restaurant on Transit Road in Clarence, has closed after 16 years.

The restaurant, at 4401 Transit Road, was a place where numerous couples got to know each other, owner Rose Parlato noted in a farewell Facebook post April 22.

It served the community long enough for some of those customers to bring their new children to eat at the restaurant, Parlato wrote.

"The Caffe and I feel rewarded to be a part and a start of your destiny, and will live forever in our hearts," Parlato wrote. "We have shared many good times with friends new and old, as well as family, but all good things have to come to an end, and it’s just time for our Caffe to retire."

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