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Restaurant notes: Neat, Mercado, Lancaster Dairy Queen

A restaurant featuring pizza and more from wood-fired ovens plus concentrations in whiskey and wine is weeks away from opening in Clarence.

Owner K.C. Mullett said he hopes to have Neat open at 5175 Transit Road by the end of August.

Mullett is the former owner of Toni Pepperoni, which he started in Kenmore in 2006, before moving it to Maple Road in Amherst two years later. He eventually sold the business.

His Transit Road restaurant is in a new building, with CoreLife Eatery, the quick-serve healthy option that opened in July, as a next-door neighbor.

New CoreLife Eatery packs a healthy punch in the Northtowns

The two-story space will seat about 150 people in the main dining area. A mezzanine, which will hold about 60 people, can be used as additional seating or for events, Mullet said. There's also a 2,000-square-foot patio that can hold another 60.

The menu will make much use of two big wood-fired ovens, starting with a roster of pizzas. "Probably 80 percent of our menu will be cooked fully or finished in one of the ovens," Mullett said.

The draft menu includes appetizers such as Italian bread with spicy soppressata, pepperoni and mozzarella, crab cakes and stuffed peppers; salads such as a chicken cutlet on arugula and a Caprese salad stack; and pizzas such as margherita, spicy sausage and honey and roasted chicken pesto.

A full bar — with an emphasis on whiskey and wine — will be available.

Olean Italian: Olean is getting a quick-serve pizza and pasta restaurant from the people behind Buffalo's Osteria 166 and Ellicottville's Villagio.

At Mercato, customers pick a pasta and a sauce and their dish is made to order. The first opened last year in EXPO, the downtown Buffalo food hall.

In Olean, owner Nick Pitillo hopes to have the 30-seat restaurant open at 213 N. Union St. by the end of August.

The counter service restaurant will also make pizza to order and sell slices. Other offerings will include grain bowls, a salad bar and a Mediterranean food bar, Pitillo said. Beer and wine will be available.

"Mercato means market, so we're going to have a little market retail piece, with local honey, and some fresh vegetables," he said, "a grab-and-go kind of thing to tap into the local farmers and make sure they get some representation."

Pitillo said he is also considering the possibility of several more locations for Mercato in the Southtowns and is preparing to open one in Bradford, Pennsylvania.

Dairy Queen reopening: The new owner of a Dairy Queen Grill & Chill in front of the Regal IMAX theater on Transit Road in Lancaster plans to update the building to Dairy Queen's newest concept design before reopening the restaurant.

Carl Group Enterprises LLC bought the freestanding building for $790,000, including the equipment and assets. The building, which includes a drive-thru, had been owned by A.J. Santiago Development LLC.

Built in 2007 and located at 6711 Transit Road, the building will undergo updates outside and inside, according to McGuire Development Co., which represented Santiago through broker James Geiger. Carl Group, which already owns and operates Dairy Queen locations in the Rochester and Albany markets, plans to reopen the restaurant next month. - Jonathan D. Epstein

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