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Restaurant notes: Phoenix, Churn, Local Restaurant Week

Looks like The Phoenix’s building in Black Rock won’t be dark for long.

Former Phoenix staffers have a plan to keep 269 Amherst St. running as a restaurant.

Dave Kahris, who tended bar for about five years, said he plans to take over the restaurant with his wife, Sara Mann Kahris.

Other staff members will be staying on, Kahris said, including several servers and a kitchen duo of Tom Lovullo and Victor Colon.

They plan to keeping the same basic menu with a few additions, including more vegetarian and gluten-free options, said Kahris. “We have friends who have Celiac’s, and we’d like a few more options.”

He’s from a restaurant family, Kahris said. His father, grandfather and uncle ran Anthony’s, on Delaware Avenue near Chippewa. More recently, they ran a place called Ernie’s at Grant and West Ferry, a business sold around 1990.

The tentative name for the new place is The Phoenix at 269, but that hasn’t been settled, Kahris said. “We are currently just waiting for a few permits,” he said, and will probably be open by the end of April.

Besides doing some work on the patio, don’t expect much to change, he said.

“It’ll feel very familiar, I think. I’ll be behind the bar, and we have three servers who have been there pretty much from the beginning,” said Kahris. “We want to continue on with what’s already been there. We really love the place, and that’s why we undertook this project.”

The Phoenix restaurant, closing in Black Rock, seeks new spot

Churros at Churn: Churn, the soft-serve ice cream shop from the Lloyd Taco Factory people, reopens April 15 with churro sundaes and cold-brew coffee to tempt customers.

At 1501 Hertel Ave., next to the original Lloyd Taco Factory, Churn started dishing up cones and sundaes last year, along with a coffee program developed with West Side roaster Tipico.

The new season brings changes including an ice cream base developed with Pittsford Dairy. Based on milk from pasture-raised cows, it's more consistent than the base Churn itself made last year, said Lloyd partner Peter Cimino.

"The challenge of producing your own ice cream base is that without specialized equipment, it can be very difficult to reproduce consistently," Cimino said. "So while it tasted phenomenal, there could be times in the same week when a customer would come back and notice some icy texture, that something was off."

After working with Pittsford to develop a custom base, "it'll be on point all the time."

Ice cream will still be available in cones and dishes. The best hits from last year's sundae lineup will be on the menu, "tweaked to make them better," he said. There's also a new slate of confections involving churros, Mexican-inspired fried doughnut sticks.

Overseeing the sweet operation is Churn's new pastry chef, Jennifer Boye, formerly of Elm Street Bakery. "Her talent, her professionalism, her approach to things, her creativity, will bring a huge change in product quality," said Cimino.

Customers will also notice a refocused coffee operation, using a custom Lloyd blend developed with Jesse Crouse of Tipico, who trained Churn staff on proper coffee technique. Cold-brewed coffee is now available in bottles at both the Hertel Avenue and Williamsville Lloyd restaurants.

"Coffee and ice cream go great together," said Cimino. "Churn will serve you a proper macchiato."

Lloyd ice cream shop Churn sets opening

Local Restaurant Week: After hunkering down for the winter at your usual restaurants, isn't it time to try something new?

The spring 2018 edition of Local Restaurant Week begins Monday, April 16 and runs though Sunday, April 22.

More than 200 locally owned restaurants are participating, ranging from pizzerias to white-tablecloth fine-dining establishments, offering introductory specials priced at $20.18, $30.18 and $40.18.

Check out the list of restaurants and read about their offerings at localrestaurantweek.com.

New participants include D-Tour Martini Bar, Lucky Day Whiskey Bar, Major Tom's Drop Zone, Hamburg; The Oak Stave and Carmine's, East Amherst; Just Pizza and Wing Co., Clarence; Sweet Life, Tonawanda; Deep South Taco locations on Hertel Avenue and Transit Road, Depew; Domador, Elma; John's Pizza & Subs locations in Tonawanda, Getzville and Grand Island; and Black Iron Bystro, Blasdell.

Taste of Culinary: The annual Taste of Culinary fundraiser is April 15 at the Erie Community College North Campus.

Organized by the American Culinary Federation’s local chapter, a portion of proceeds will aid the Child and Chef Foundation’s nutrition education mission.

More than 30 restaurants, wineries and brewers will offer samples at the event, which runs from noon to 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $35, available through tasteofculinary.com.

The event will be held in the Spring Student Center's Statler’s Erie Room Restaurant at the campus, 6205 Main St., Amherst.

Smiles at Taste of Culinary in ECC City

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

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