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Restaurant notes: Griffon House, Encore, 773 North

What do you get when you put snack-sized burgers of pork, rabbit and kangaroo on the same plate?

The "willy, nilly, silly" "100 Acre Woods slider trio." It's one of the attention-grabbing offerings on one of Western New York's wildest menus, available starting Jan. 22 at the newest Griffon restaurant.

At Griffon House, 810 Center St., Lewiston, owner Ken Scibetta will offer tried-and-true dishes like burgers and chicken tenders alongside offerings that wander off the beaten path.

The Pooh-themed dish includes honey-glazed pork belly with apple chutney, braised rabbit with goat cheese, and a ground kangaroo burger with cheddar and bacon.

Other outliers include a Whistle Pig deep-fried bacon-wrapped hot dog with cheese sauce ($9) and a Jamaican meat pie ($4) with ground beef in a flaky spiced crust. "Gumballs" are Scibetta's gumbo-inspired arancini ($9), with shrimp and sausage, served on dark roux with pickled okra.

Choose your adventure at Griffon Gastropub East Aurora

A 12-ounce bone-in pork chop ($22) stuffed with cheddar and wrapped in prosciutto gets finished with bacon-herb butter and served over a hash of sweet potato, andouille sausage and chard. Sablefish "cioppino" ($33) features the fish tomato shellfish broth with fennel jam and roasted root vegetables.

Then there's 57 taps of draft beer and cider, in line with the extensive choices at the first three Griffons in Niagara Falls, Clarence and East Aurora. Scibetta runs the restaurants with business partner Ed Webster.

The former Macri's space will have reserveable seating for 44, and two long community tables seating 10 apiece, Scibetta said. A fireplace lounge on the first floor seats about 16 for drinks.

Hours: 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday, Saturday. Phone: 405-7291.

Encore closing for now: There is a "for sale" sign on the Pearl Street restaurant, but Encore is just pausing for its second act, an owner says.

A temporary closing, starting after service Jan. 13, is the prelude to possibly investing more in the property, not closing it, said Joseph Gugino.

"We're shutting down for renovations and deciding exactly what we need to do to have the patio open year-round," said Gugino. The restaurant, 492 Pearl St., opened in 2009.

January and February are always slow times, so the owners decided to shutter Encore until spring to make changes and plan the restaurant's next phase, Gugino said.

The new Encore might include a menu change, as well, he said.

"We're closed until spring, so we can figure out exactly what we're going to do outside," said Gugino.

The sale sign is part of a process to see how much Encore is worth, Gugino said as owners consider changing the ownership group.

"We're not closed for good – that's not happening."

Grand Island opening: A mid-market New American restaurant is opening in the Grand Island building that was formerly home to The Pepper Mill.

773 North, at 2749 Grand Island Blvd., is expected to open Jan. 31, said Katie Kielaszek, the restaurant's marketing coordinator.

It's the first restaurant from Christy Zippier, formerly chef at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls, and her husband Jason.

The couple bought the building in August, and have been working on it since. "We had to pretty much gut it, so most of the inside is new," she said.

Grand Island's 773 North replaces The Pepper Mill. (773 North)

There are about 50 seats in the dining room, and another 20 in the bar. It will offer full alcohol.

"We wanted to pick a theme, but we realized the kind of food we like really didn’t have a theme," said Kielaszek. "It was more of a New American menu, the things we like to eat, and the things we like to cook."

The menu offers updated versions of classic comfort food alongside dishes with inspirations from around the globe, and across New York State.

The appetizer menu alone references five countries, with a Greek platter ($12) with tzatziki, marinated feta, red peppers, toasted pita, and more; Tuscan steamed mussels ($14) with grilled bread; Mexican fish tacos with tortilla-crusted tilapia ($); Irish egg rolls ($7) stuffed with corned beef; and Thai lettuce wraps ($8) holding sesame-ginger ground turkey.

Extensive renovations have remade the former Pepper Mill. (773 North)

Entrees include Faroe Island salmon ($23) with citrus soy glaze, linguine carbonara ($16), and an homage to Utica's own "chicken riggies" pasta ($16), with rigatoni, spicy tomato cream, and two kinds of peppers: bell and spicy cherry.

You can check out the menu at The restaurant will start serving lunch Jan. 31 after a 10:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting.

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday. 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Closed Tuesday. Phone: 773-6678.

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