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Replacement for Sonoma Grille in Snyder to open by next fall

The restaurant replacing the Sonoma Grille won't open until next fall, but diners who want a preview of the menu can stop by the restaurant inside the Reikart House hotel.

The developer behind the Reikart House, which replaced the former Lord Amherst Hotel, and the Hyatt Place hotel on the same campus in Snyder decided months ago to tear down the former Sonoma Grille building and to construct a new restaurant on the site.

Building from scratch on the property allows Iskalo Development to construct a restaurant that makes better use of the available space for the new restaurant, named Jazzboline, said David Chiazza, Iskalo's executive vice president.

Iskalo also plans to build a pocket park on the Main Street property, which patrons of the restaurant and the two hotels will be welcome to use, in place of a swimming pool on the grounds.

Iskalo needs approval from the Amherst Planning Board for its plans for the roughly $6 million project.

"The restaurant is really intended to be the entry point, or the front door, for folks to kind of get a taste of the Reikart House brand," Chiazza said.

The Jazzboline restaurant is the final piece of Iskalo's three-part hospitality campus at Main Street just west of the Youngmann Memorial Highway interchange.

Iskalo began work at the site by building the 137-room Hyatt Place, which opened in August 2015 after the developer overcame significant opposition from neighbors to win town approvals.

Iskalo, which purchased the Lord Amherst at 5000 Main St. in 2011, poured nearly $20 million into renovations before reopening it as the Reikart House in July.

The 92-room boutique hotel is the first in New York State to operate as part of Marriott International’s Tribute Portfolio, a network of “upper upscale” independent hotels.

Former Lord Amherst Hotel part of Marriott's 'upper-upscale' network

The company that operates the hotel and its restaurant, Greenwood Hospitality Group, also will manage the Jazzboline restaurant, Chiazza said.

Sonoma Grille closed in 2013. Iskalo tried about a half-dozen ways to find a design for its replacement that allowed it to preserve the existing restaurant building but couldn't find one that worked well, Chiazza said.

The main level of Sonoma Grille was built 3 feet above grade, with a ramp leading up to the restaurant entrance, so that made new construction a more attractive option, he said.

Another factor that pushed the company to a new build was Marriott's insistence that Iskalo revive the canopy that previously connected the restaurant to the Lord Amherst hotel. That created a breezeway where patrons could directly walk between the two establishments, and drivers could drop off guests at the hotel without worrying about rain or snow.

The developer considered putting in a new pool in its updated plans, but ultimately decided a pocket park extending out to the edge of the escarpment would be the best use of the property.

Iskalo plans to add a waterfall feature, a shaded canopy and benches at the park, which should be attractive to people who want to take a walk or pictures, Chiazza said.

Jazzboline largely will have the same capacity for dining and banquet operations as Sonoma Grille, but it will be offered on one, main floor instead of on the two levels of Sonoma Grille.

The banquet area will have seating for 200 guests, and the dining area will have seating for 170 guests. Jazzboline will be open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Breakfast still will be served at the Reikart House.

Iskalo still is working out the design of Jazzboline at 5010 Main. There will be elements linking it to the style of the Reikart House, with its modern use of brick and stone.

But, "we want the restaurant to have its own distinct identity," Chiazza said.

Iskalo and Greenwood also still are working out the menu for Jazzboline. The name refers to a musical instrument invented by Frank Reikart, one half of a famed vaudeville duo.

There will be carryover from the meals served today at the Reikart House. The hotel doesn't advertise this fact, but the bar and restaurant are open to the public, Chiazza said.

The hotel kitchen now serves standards such as roasted chicken, short ribs, salmon and roast beef on weck sliders, but puts its own twist on them, Chiazza said.

"It's going to be familiar fare, just done creatively," he said. "Very micro-regional. Just what the chef can acquire regionally."

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