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Elmwood restaurant JT's Urban Italian sets opening date

JT's Urban Italian, the new wood-oven-centered restaurant from the operators behind Siena, 800 Maple and Rocco's, opens to the public on June 23.

Starting at 5 p.m., people can see what's cooking at the corner of Elmwood and West Delavan, where a gas station and convenience store stood until 2015. Both floors of the two-story space in the mixed-use building at 905 Elmwood Ave. have folding doors that open to the street in good weather.

Executive Chef Lennon Lewandowski and Chef de Cuisine Chris Smaldone have been working in the new kitchen for three months, Lewandowski said.

The menu has a core of dishes from the wood-fired ovens at JT's Urban Italian. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Snacks include baked oysters with bacon and herb hollandaise ($16) and rice balls with black currant and tomato sauce ($8).

From the wood oven, there's balsamic marinated wood oven wings with garlic chile dip ($13), pizzas ranging from margherita ($14) to steak with mushrooms, spinach, fontina and porcini cream ($18). Housemade pastas include tagliatelle primavera ($24).

Staff training continued Monday in the bar at JT's Urban Italian. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Large plates include steaks ($35-$39), barbecue ribs with scallion-apple slaw and asagio knots ($27), and "for the table" scale entrees of pork shank, meatballs and sausage on pasta ($39) and seafood risotto ($48). Vegan dishes include a garden roast entrée with fennel, greens, farro and romesco sauce ($22).

JT's operators include Henry Gorino and Chuck Mauro, whose work at Siena, 800 Maple, Rocco's and formerly Oliver's has built expectations for the new place.

The second-floor patio tables overlook Elmwood Avenue at JT's Urban Italian. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Given its location and pedigree, expect JT's to be busy from the start. Mauro said that on Saturday JT's decided to offer a limited pizza-centric lunch menu unannounced because of the proximity of the Buffalo Living Tour, a survey of Buffalo apartments that included 905 Elmwood Ave. "We did 200 lunches by accident," he said with a chuckle.

JT's will be open for dinner June 23, 24 and 25. On Monday June 26, daily lunch service will begin as well, Mauro said. Brunch dishes will be tested on Sunday lunches in anticipation of full-fledged brunch after July 4. Phone: 882-0905.

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