Share this article

print logo

Restaurant notes: Swan Street Diner, Rachel's, Tel Aviv Cafe

An 80-year-old restaurant is the newest resident of Larkinville.

The Swan Street Diner arrived by truck this morning at its new address, 694 Swan St., next to the Hydraulic Hearth restaurant and across the road from Larkin Square.

The diner is expected to open in September, serving diner classics and more for breakfast and lunch, seven days a week.

Its first address was in Newark in Wayne County, east of Rochester. Developer Howard Zemsky found it for sale, bought it in 2013, and rehabilitated it, while considering its future.

The new Swan Street Diner makes its way to its new home. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

"As Larkinville has grown, it became obvious to us that it should go right next to Hydraulic Hearth," said Leslie Zemsky, his wife. "So we have this nice little center of Larkin Square, all the food truck events, and now the diner."

[Read: Pizza, fellowship are draws at Hydraulic Hearth (review)]

There's also tourism potential in the classic diner profile, Zemsky noted. "People travel for diners," she said. "They're their own little destination."

Harry Zemsky, her son, will manage both restaurants. The restaurant will hold about 50 people, including 10 at counter stools and the rest in booths. Construction starts soon on a kitchen addition behind the diner.

Amanda Amico, Amy’s Truck operator, will be chef and general manager. Besides the usual eggs, pancakes and home fries, "we wanted to put a little spin on the classics," she said. Examples include a pot pie topped with stuffing, specialty milkshakes, mini doughnuts, and a meatloaf-based patty melt.

"We're definitely going to do pies," she said. "The classic diner needs pies."

Yakitori in Tonawanda: A restaurant called 546 Yakitori & Donburi has opened in the Tonawanda building that last held Ying's K Café.

The new place at 546 Niagara Falls Blvd. specializes in Japanese dishes like stir-fries, noodles and skewers. Yakitori is a grilled chicken skewer, and donburi is a rice bowl, usually finished with a braised or fried topping.

Appetizers range from pork or vegetable gyoza dumplings ($3.95) to grilled beef short ribs ($9.95).

Skewers, which come in threes, are $3.95 (chicken) to $4.95 (enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon). Donburi, served with a bowl of miso soup, run $7.95 (chicken) to eel ($10.95).

According to Wen Chen, a manager, the restaurant's soft-opening period began about two weeks ago.

There is no alcohol at the restaurant, but the owners have applied for a liquor license, she said.

Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, Saturday. Phone: 835-0090.

Kosher in Amherst: Myers Family Tel Aviv Cafe by Falafel Bar, a kosher café in Amherst, has reopened under Israeli chef Oded Rauvenpoor.

The counter-service restaurant is in the Jewish Community Center's Benderson Family Building, 2640 N. Forest Road.

Rauvenpoor owned Falafel Bar, much of whose Mediterranean menu can currently be found at Fables Café in the downtown library. He took over the Tel Aviv Cafe on May 4, after it was closed briefly.

Kosher Falafel Bar favorites like falafel, hummus, babaganoush, salads and more will be on the menu, Rauvenpoor said. There's also spanakopita, spinach pie, and bourekas, puff pastry stuffed with cheese or potatoes.

"We're making our own pita bread," Rauvenpoor said. "We're baking all of our own pastries." The café is following strict "cholov Yisrael" kosher standards, he said.

There are few other kosher operations in town, including Nissan's Kosher Deli in Tops, 3980 Maple Road, and NY Deli & Diner, in Talbert Hall at the University at Buffalo's Amherst campus.

Tel Aviv Café will start at 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with dinner hours possible in the future, he said.

"People think kosher food is not tasty," Rauvenpoor said, "but we will show them something different."

Mediterranean in Cheektowaga: Quick-service casual restaurant group Rachel's Mediterranean opened its fifth location earlier this month.

It's at 1526 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga, a mile west of the Walden Galleria.

"It's been a great response to a phenomenal product," said Joseph Khoury, Rachel's Mediterranean president. "We've almost perfected the process, allowing us to grow and to feed so many more people on a daily basis."

The restaurants offer souvlaki-style grilled chicken or beef, falafel and other offerings as a wrap, salad or rice bowl. Cooks customize dishes for diners as they move down a line toward the cashier, Chipotle-style.

Rachel's Mediterranean is set up as a quick-serve restaurant with seating. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

The Khoury family has been serving Lebanese and Greek dishes from its initial spot, 5953 Main St., Amherst, across the street from Williamsville South High School, since 2006. The café-like spot is the only Rachel's with a more traditional extended Lebanese and Greek menu, and table service.

Other locations include the Commons at University at Buffalo's Amherst campus; downtown at 235 Delaware Ave.; and 3860 McKinley Parkway, Hamburg.

Unlike the Delaware Avenue location, the new Cheektowaga site has seating for customers who want to eat there instead of grabbing food on the fly.

"Our target market has always been the millennials, changing with the times," said Khoury. "We offer something different."

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Phone: 248-2190.

Send restaurant tips to and follow @BuffaloFood on Instagram and Twitter.


There are no comments - be the first to comment