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Ambitious new Tonawanda restaurant coming to Erie Canal shore

A former auto service center next to the Erie Canal is becoming an ambitious restaurant centered around wood-fired cooking.

Prescott's Provisions is nearing completion at 40 E. Niagara St., City of Tonawanda. The building, which dates to the 1920s, was most recently an automobile service center.

Owner Don Benoit is a Grand Island businessman who owns Cross Controls & Electric. He's hired Vincent Thompson, former leader of kitchens at BOSS, Buffalo Chophouse and Chez Amis, as its chef.

"We're about a month out," Thompson said. He hopes to open the last week of June but is still waiting for the restaurant's liquor license and electronic ordering system, he said. Staff training and cooking began June 4.

"We're on the water and we'll get a lot of boaters, but we're going for mid-level," he said. The restaurant will have wood tables, cloth napkins, concrete floors. The original ceiling was kept and painted.

 

Prescott's Provisions will have an open kitchen, and do most of its cooking over live fire, he said. Toward that end, it's equipped with a large wood-burning oven, plus and Argentinean-style grill, with cooking services over wood embers that can be adjusted by cranks.

Gas appliances will include a French-top stove, and a small fryer.

The menu will include a couple of pizzas, and maybe a burger, Thompson said. "We're going to do three or four handmade pastas and a lot of grilled items. I have a dry-age room in one of the coolers, so we'll be dry-aging beef, duck, lamb, things like that."

Expect some small plates, like charred avocado with king crab and steak tartare. Vegetables, like an heirloom carrot tartine, and hay smoked crispy potatoes. Some charcuterie, like rillettes and pates, not cured items. Perhaps seven large plates, like dry-aged-duck with apricot, and grilled monkfish with fennel.

Don't expect chicken wings. There's only one small fryer in the kitchen, and besides, there's no wing drought in the Twin Cities. "Across the water, they have all that stuff, so it's not really necessary to do it here," Thompson said.

The goal is distinctive food without hefty prices. "Our food will look like you could pay a lot of money for it somewhere else," Thompson said, "but we're going to keep the price point down."

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