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Restaurant notes: Public Espresso Cafe, Venus, Louisiana Cookery

Public Espresso is launching a new restaurant in the corner storefront of Hotel @ the Lafayette.

The space at 391 Washington St., formerly Woyshner's Flower Shop, will offer much more than coffee from Public Espresso's custom-roasted beans.

Cocktails and a food menu from a full-service kitchen are also part of a planned menu to debut in the fall at Public Espresso Cafe, the company announced on its website.

Public Espresso has served coffee, pastries bagels and more from its lobby coffee lounge since 2015. "We're going to be doing light fare on weekdays, things people can grab, like bagels, egg sandwiches and avocado toast, and then more of a brunch menu for weekends," said Sam Scarcello, who owns the company with James Rayburg. "People will be able to pick something up, or hang out and enjoy the space."

The nights will have small food options at the bar – "You won’t be sitting down for a $40 steak," he said. The alcoholic drinks will include a tight cocktail program, a small wine list and tea and coffee inspired cocktails, he said. Asked if that would include a Long Island Ice Tea, he laughed. "No."

The company also plans to move its Grant Street coffee roaster to the hotel. "With the rate our roastery was growing and the capacity needed to house green coffee beans (they ship on pallets of 132 lb. bags) expanding rapidly, we were running out of space to fit a reasonably sized cafe and roastery."

On average, Scarcello said, the company roasts 200 to 300 pounds a week. With two more stores, including an upcoming Seneca Street site, that number could double, he said.

A new space on Grant Street will also hold an upcoming café, hopefully to open in 2018. "We've got a lease signed for that space, and we're waiting on bids from the contractors to make sure it's coming in on budget."

Amherst Egyptian: Egyptian restaurateur Jack Adly is opening a branch of his Mediterranean restaurant in a Maple Road plaza behind Red Robin.

The new Venus, 4110 Maple Road in Amherst, will offer a similar menu as his restaurant in University Plaza.

Souvlaki, falafel, and beef or chicken shawarma are popular dishes, along with Greek fries, with feta, tomato, garlic sauce and onion. Wings, subs and salads round out the offerings.

Adly said he decided to go forward with a new location after his Pearl Street location was damaged by fire.

"We hope to be open by the end of September," Adly said. There are about 30 seats for customers.

Egyptian dishes on the menu include koshrey, a vegan pilaf with lentils and fried onions.

American additions include deep-fried s'mores in a taco shell, which Venus introduced at the Erie County Fair.

The restaurant will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, he said.

Venus' new location will be off Maple Road, behind Red Robin. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Restaurant notes: Deep South Taco, El Encanto

Cheektowaga Cajun: Louisiana Cookery food truck is opening a restaurant in Cheektowaga to showcase its classic Cajun and Low Country cuisine.

Shrimp and grits, crawfish etouffee and the rest of the Louisiana Cookery menu will be available at 1238 Walden Ave., which was last Soulos Café. With Chester's down the street, that will make Cheektowaga Western New York's Cajun destination.

"We'll expand the menu slowly, using daily specials at first to see what takes off," said Amy Powlenko, who runs the business with her husband, Mark. The counter service restaurant will have 12 seats, and no alcohol.

To make the leap from truck to building, "we took our time, and waited for the right opportunities to present themselves," she said. The response of faithful customers, supporting the business, meant "we've been able to wait and be patient and wait for things to open up for us."

The Louisiana Cookery is a regular attendee at Food Truck Tuesday. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

The couple launched the food truck in 2014, making the restaurant their second culinary enterprise. It always stopped roaming in the winter, and after the restaurant is open will probably only come out for special events, Powlenko said.

Their goal is to open in November, Powlenko said. "We feel so lucky, and we worked really hard for it, and we're really excited for the new adventure and challenge of opening the cafe."

The Buffalo News food truck guide: Louisiana Cookery

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