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Restaurant notes: Jam, Twisted Olives, Shannon Pub

Parkside community leaders are working on opening a restaurant at the corner of Parkside Avenue and Russell Street that would redefine "neighborhood café."

The current and former presidents of the Parkside Community Association, working with a café owner, hope to open Jam by the end of the summer. The restaurant space at 301 Parkside Ave., across the street from the Buffalo Zoo, was last P. Moran's.

Their plan for Jam is to raise money from neighbors, and create a business that would not only offer Parkside another amenity, but use some of its profits to improve the neighborhood.

Amber Small, association executive director, is working with former board president Monica Cichon, and Jesse Crouse, owner of Tipico, a West Side Third Wave coffee shop.

After P. Moran's closed in January, "a lot of our neighbors were talking about how they wanted something similar," Small said. After some discussion, Small said, "we decided the best way to see it become something the neighborhood would support is to do it ourselves."

She and Cichon have limited food service experience, said Small. A search for a partner led to Crouse, who opened Tipico, 128 Fargo Ave., in November 2015.

Crouse, who is also managing partner of Plume, a coffee roaster, will shape the food and drink menu. "I want people to be able to come in and get a great cup of coffee, a perfect croissant, or just a space to drink a beautiful cup of tea and enjoy a beautiful day in Parkside."

Small, simple dishes will include California-style toast preparations, pesto rice bowls and sous-vide eggs. Drinks will include Plume coffee, said Crouse, and he plans to offer bottled kombucha from Barrel + Brine.

To finance the café, she said, "we are planning on going forward with a capital campaign, and a community offering." State regulations bar her from getting into details at this point, she said. "We'll release more details when we are able."

New Falls restaurant: A new restaurant opened two weeks ago in the Wingate by Wyndham Niagara Falls, a hotel on Rainbow Boulevard.

Twisted Olives, 333 Rainbow Blvd., boasts some of the roomiest patios downtown, with a total of 135 feet of patios stretching along two sides of the building.

Despite its hotel location, the restaurant has so far drawn many Niagara Falls residents, said Kristen Clark, managing partner.

Since its grand opening Memorial Day weekend, the customers have been about 80 percent local, she said. That could change, as the peak tourist season starts this week.

The main dining room holds about 70, the bar another 20 or more, in addition to patio seating. The restaurant also offers a private dining room that holds 25.

Food includes small plates like stuffed peppers with andouille sausage and pico de gallo ($11) and a hummus plate with raita cucumber yogurt ($13), brick oven pizzas ($13-$16) including goat cheese and arugula-prosciutto. Sandwiches range from Buffalo chicken wrap ($11) to Twisted burger, with a fried egg and bacon ($17); entrees include cavatappi pasta with chicken in tomato cream sauce ($19) and short ribs over polenta ($22).

The drinks menu includes a line of signature martinis and 12 taps of draft beer.

Clark said she is planning industry nights for casino employees, and event nights like cigar nights on the patio for men, and painting nights for women. Unlike some hotel-side restaurants in downtown Niagara Falls, Clark said, Twisted Olives does not add a “resort fee” to dining checks.

Dining hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with later bar hours. Phone: 215-6222.

Falls gets Burmese: Burmese cuisine has arrived in Niagara Falls with the opening of Mandalay Restaurant and Bar.
The space, at 6621 Niagara Falls Blvd., was last occupied by My Thai.

Mandalay, named after Burma’s second largest city, offers Burmese and Thai dishes for lunch and dinner.

The Burmese side of the menu includes standards like tea leaf or ginger salad, biryani aromatic rice pilaf, and fish or pork belly curry. Thai choices include green or red curry, coconut (tom kha) and hot-and-sour (tom yum) soups, stir-fries and noodle dishes.

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Phone: 283-8100.

Manzella's changes name: The Manzella's sign will change to Fanara's in a few weeks, but don’t expect a dramatic shift inside the Tonawanda Italian restaurant.

The restaurant at 3347 Delaware Ave. is updating its name after owner Joseph Fanara bought out a partner, Michelle Fanara said. "It's changing into Fanara's in the next couple weeks," she said.

Chef Richard Balsano will be remain in charge of the kitchen, so the cuisine will remain constant. "We're going to update the menu a little bit, add on some items," she said. The changeover should take place by early July.

The restaurant, just north of the Kenmore village boundary, opened in 2000.

Shannon Pub closing: Shannon Pub, the Irish restaurant, bar and live music venue in Tonawanda, has announced it will close.

Its wake will be June 17, according to a post on the restaurant's Facebook page. The restaurant, at 2250 Niagara Falls Blvd., will close its doors at the end of business that day, it said.

"Blame it on the minimum wage, global warming, German restaurants, Dodd-Frank, whatever," the statement said.

Kevin Townsell, Shannon Pub's owner, is working on opening Hofbrauhaus, a German beer hall style restaurant, in downtown Buffalo in early 2018.

The statement noted that the Buffalo Irish Festival and Shannon Pub's annual Ireland trip will continue as scheduled.

Shannon Pub, which opened in Tonawanda in 2004, has operated at three locations since its founding in 1981. "You never know," the statement said, "there may be a fourth someday."

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