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Restaurant notes: Wholly Crepe, Taqueria la Dona

After five years as a practicing lawyer, as a Legal Aid attorney, then a real estate practitioner, Kamalie Liyanage traded the courtroom for the kitchen.

In July she opened Wholly Crepe, 3292 Main St., across the street from the University at Buffalo. Now she spends her days wrapping manhole-sized pancakes around sweet and savory fillings.

Why did she go from to cases to crepes? "I figured I'd like the physical stress more than the mental stress of the legal world," said Liyanage, "so I thought I'd give it a try."

But why crepes?

"I like to eat crepes, and I was looking for a career change, so I picked something that was easy to make," she said. Plus, a crepe shop is a relatively easy restaurant to set up: "Crepes don’t require a full kitchen to make."

Sweet crepe choices ($5.51) include banana-Nutella and lemon ricotta with blueberries. Savory options ($6.45) include lox, tomato-mozzarella-basil, and chicken mushroom. See the rest at whollycrepebuf.com.

Hours will be lengthened in September, after University at Buffalo students return, Liyanage said.

Hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sunday. Closed Monday. Phone: 544-8044.

New Hertel cafe: New Moon Café started offering its breakfast and lunch lineup to and North Buffalo on Aug. 8.

The restaurant, 1685 Hertel Ave., is located across the street from the new Lexington Co-op. Owner Barbara Blanchard returned to Buffalo after operating a similar, successful restaurant in the ski resort town of Keystone, Colo.

The menu has a touch of Mexican, with breakfast burritos ($7.95-$9.95) and quesadillas ($8.95-$10.95), and green chili in addition to the usual red beef chili. There's also panini-style sandwiches, and an assortment of salads.

Breakfast offerings include croissant french toast, Belgian waffles and eggs. A "tea bar" features an array of hot and cold teas.

Blanchard grew up in the Town of Tonawanda and attended Kenmore East High School. In Colorado, she operated the seasonal restaurant for nine years, during ski season.

She decided to return because her family is here, she said, and because of changes she saw in the community. "I got excited about the resurgence that's going on in Buffalo, especially on Hertel, and I wanted to be a part of it."

Hours: 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Monday. Phone: 481-8397.

Falls Mexican: Niagara Falls got a new Mexican and Puerto Rican restaurant when Taqueria la Dona opened at the end of July.

The restaurant is at 829 Main St., formerly occupied by Mary O's.

The new place offers Mexican sandwiches called tortas, as well as tacos, quesadillas and fajitas. Its list of fillings includes roast pork, pork with pineapple, sausage, fish and vegetarian (potatoes and poblano chiles).

Puerto Rican offerings mainly consist of pastelillos, fried turnovers, which come in an array of savory ($2.50) and sweet ($2.75) choices.

Beef and cheese, chicken and pizza pastelillos dominate the savory side. Mango cheesecake, apple and mixed berry are among the sweet options.

Taqueria la Dona is the first restaurant for owner Frances I. Orench, said her son, Aszash Orench. She is Puerto Rican, but the cook is Mexican, so the Mexican flavors are authentic, Aszash Orench said.

The restaurant, which has about 75 seats, will not serve alcohol.

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, Saturday. Closed Sunday. Phone: 235-6359.

Teton Kitchen second location: Teton Kitchen, a Depew restaurant that has built a following for its Japanese home cooking, sushi and Thai dishes, is working on a second location on Transit Road.

The second place will be at 5512 Transit Road, a spot that used to be called Dee's Firehouse Bar & Grill. It's about three miles from 415 Dick Road, where Taka Win and his wife, Khin, opened Teton Kitchen in 2013.

It will take several months to get the building ready for restaurant operation, said Win. He will try to get the operation ready to open by November.

"I'm going to keep Teton Kitchen open," said Win. "A lot of people know me at this small location, and I plan on keeping the menu the same." In 2015, Teton Kitchen topped Yelp's list of the 100 best restaurants in Buffalo.

At the Transit location, "I want to try something different," he said. Fresh seafood grilled is one area he expects to explore. The new place is three or four times as big as his current restaurant.

If he has enough money for the project, he is considering installing a sushi conveyor belt. Called kaiten sushi, it's a restaurant format where customers pluck items they want from a belt running by their table.

"I'm thinking about it," said Win, "but it depends on my finances."

Teton Kitchen has a menu worth exploring

No. 1 place to eat in Buffalo? It's in Depew, Yelp says

Elm Street Bakery to Beard: 

Jennifer Boye of Elm Street Bakery in East Aurora has been invited to present dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan.

The Oct. 2 dinner starts at 7 p.m. The Beard House, once the home of the famed chef and celebrator of American regional cuisine, now showcases regional cuisine from visiting chefs.

Boye, who has been a professional cook for 21 years, was previously the chef at Mansion on Delaware. She became the Elm Street Bakery's chef in 2015 and has been part of the home team in the Nickel City Chef live cooking competition.

Boye said the invitation spoke to the work of the entire Elm Street Bakery team, not just her own skills. It made her appreciate "the work of your team and the relationships that you've built over the years to give you an opportunity to represent the city you were basically born and raised in."

A Beard House invitation means a chance to represent "yourself, your restaurant and your city in a way that people who aren't so familiar with Buffalo can catch a little glimpse of what we're about."

Buffalo culinary talents invited in recent years include Ross Warhol, Mike Andrzejewski, Adam Goetz, Steven and Ellen Gedra, Edward Forster, Jon Karel, JJ Richert and Brian Mietus.

Black Sheep owners Steven and Ellen Gedra take Manhattan

The Oct. 2 dinner menu, of passed appetizers and five courses with wine, blends end-of-summer bounty with the first flush of fall. Hors d’oeuvres will include lamb sausages with harissa on butter-egg buns, rutabaga blini with caviar and gin-soaked salmon with caraway onions on vollkornbrot bread.

The five-course dinner will include sunflower soup with saffron crème fraîche and sunflower seed za’atar; celery leaf salad with lemon balm, strawberry confit, tomatoes, ricotta, and tomato vine vinegar; short rib caramelle with lobster butter and creamed sweet corn; and blueberry cake with pistachio cookie and rose ice cream.

Seats are available to the public at the price of $135 for Beard Foundation members and $175 for non-members. Go to jamesbeard.org/events/autumn-in-upstate to purchase.

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

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