Chester's Cajun Grill is moving to Cheektowaga, taking over the former Elite Fine Dining building on Cleveland Drive.
"We've taking over the property, and are in the process of a décor change," said owner Seth Halter. "We wanted to make the move to increase our square footage, and to offer our customers a little better amenities."
When the new site, 301 Cleveland Drive, is ready, Chester's will close for a few days and move from its original location, at 9416 Transit Road, East Amherst.
That's where Chester's opened as a neighborhood pub in 2001, before Halter refocused it as a Cajun restaurant in 2004. The restaurant's cuisine has won several Taste of Buffalo awards over the years, and built a loyal following.
[REVIEW: Blackened shrimp lead spicy choices at Chester's, from 2012]
Halter is hoping his customers follow the restaurant to its new home Cheektowaga, chosen for a more central location that gave the restaurant room to grow.
"It's easier access off the 33 and 190, so people can get to us easier," Halter said. "There's also the second dining room there, separate, which gives us a place to do events like bridal shows and birthday parties up to 50 people."
The new spot has about twice the square footage, with a bigger kitchen. The Cheektowaga Chester's will have two dining rooms that will hold about 100, and another 29 in the bar. The current Chester's is limited to about 77 customers now, Halter said.
The menu will stay the same for now, except for some seasonal specials. There will be televisions in the bar for game-watching, and a 60-inch screen in the dining room.
Halter is hoping to make the transition in early June, if all goes well. "We'd like to close on a Saturday night," he said, "then transfer our liquor license over and open the new place in a couple of days." The Transit location will close.
The Dock goes Mexican: The Dock Waterfront Bar & Grill has been sold to the owners of Lucia's on the Lake, who are turning it into a Mexican restaurant.
The two-story restaurant at 3800 Hoover Road, Hamburg, will now be known as Dos Amigos, a reference to Angelo Canna and his Lucia's partner, Jay Pasquarella. They bought the business about two weeks ago from William Paladino and partners, who bought it last year.
The volleyball and live music scene that were a mainstay of the restaurant are history, said Canna. The spacious deck will get an upgrade, with new couches, firepits and more, Canna said.
Expect flights of margaritas, fresh seafood and braised meats on the menu, modern Mexican with Californian touches, Canna said. Lucia's Executive Chef Alex Diaczenko will oversee Dos Amigos as well, with Scott Bernard as chef.
[Review: At Lucia's on the Lake, upscale Italian with a view]
Between the dining room and deck, the restaurant should seat about 150. "We want to be open by June 1," Canna said.
The second floor, a 150-person banquet room, will become the Lucia's banquet space, featuring its upscale casual Italian menu, he said. "A lot of the parties we couldn't accommodate here (at Lucia's), we'll do there," he said.
Plans the Lucia's partners had last year to take over Bedrock Eatery, across the street from Lucia's, and turn it into into a Mexican restaurant did not come to fruition, Canna said.
Changes at Daniels: Hamburg fine dining restaurant Daniels is close to unveiling additions to its property and its menu.
Located at 174 Buffalo St., it's been "pretty much the same for 27 years," said chef-owner Scott Donhauser.
When Donhauser bought it with partners in 2013, they tried to change as little as possible, including dishes popularized by founder Daniel Johengen. But now Donhauser is expanding the place and its offerings. "We need to evolve," Donhauser said.
The interior has been remodeled, and the addition of a small bar that can also be used for events in the back room is in the planning stages, he said. Outside, a patio has been built on the north side, big enough to hold about 30. There's also plans for a second-story patio over the entrance.
The menu expansion will keep the fine-dining favorites, and add small plates, burgers and a steak sandwich. "Now that we are adding a patio, we'll start doing patio food, fun food, and carry that to the inside as well."
The new patio is almost done, and could be used as early as Mother's Day if the weather cooperates, said Donhauser. The bar and function room should be ready by the end of July, if all goes well.
He hopes the changes will encourage people to "get over that hump of Daniels being only a special occasion place, something you can only afford once a year." While respecting tradition, he said, the restaurant should become "more accessible, more open-ended on what we can do for people."
Cheektowaga tacos: Taqueria Los Mayas has started dishing up food at 3525 Genesee St., Cheektowaga. The Mexican-style short order restaurant is offering 11 kinds of tacos ($2.50-$3.55), burritos $7.25-$8.25), tamales ($3.25), tortas ($7.25) and sopes ($3.75), which are discs of corn dough fried and topped with meat, cheese and salsa. It’s open seven days a week, for lunch and dinner. Phone: 906-3730.
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