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Restaurant notes: Pano's, Hofbrauhaus Buffalo, Bedrock

After a complete interior renovation, the new Pano's – which opened June 25 – is lighter, brighter and bedecked in colors of the Mediterranean.

The ceilings are 2 feet higher after the removal of dropped ceilings, and unblocked windows allow more light to stream into the new bar area.

Instead of orange and brown, the new Pano's wears blue, white and tan.

Owners Mark Chason and Mariana Botero-Chason want the neighborhood to keep Pano's in mind as a "family-friendly, warm, comfortable, inviting place," Mark Chason said.

Another goal is to invite locals who had lost interest in Pano's to come back to 1081 Elmwood Ave. and give it a fresh look, said Richard Orens, general manager. "We've given it a different atmosphere, and we're trying to offer a fresher menu, no bag-in-a-box things."

Most of the Mediterranean favorites and other best-sellers will remain, he said.

Photos of Greece and light walls have changed the look at the new Pano's. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Saganaki, Kasseri cheese that's been fried and flamed with ouzo, joins the menu, as an appetizer with pita ($7.99) and an egg dish with onions, peppers, tomatoes and toast ($9.99). Greek diner standards such as souvlaki breakfast remain ($12.99, lamb $16.99).

A Mediterranean plate with marinated olives, vegetables, hummus and tzatziki ($8.99) and an almond berry salad with red onion and goat cheese ($8.99) are among the lighter additions.

Saganaki is on the menu at the new Pano's. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Customers will be able to watch the kitchen staff cook their meals through a new window and glass doors.

Owners Mark Chason and Mariana Botero-Chason at the new Pano's. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

The renovation was down to mechanicals like the air conditioning system. The staircase to the second-floor dining room has been redone in hardwood.

The walls are adorned with photographs of Greece and environs by Botero-Chason, among other art.

Since the place closed Feb. 21, people have been stopping by to ask when they could eat at Pano's again. The new owners live nearby and said they respect what Pano's has meant to generations of Elmwood Village eaters.

"We really want to keep the neighborhood, warm and open feel," said Mark Chason. "We live here, too."

Hours: Pano's, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Phone: 886-9081.

Upstairs at the new Pano's. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

*****

Hofbrauhaus coming: If you want to know what sort of vibe Hofbrauhaus Buffalo is going for, consider that its tables and benches were built sturdy enough to let drinkers use them as a stage.

Furniture produced by Amish woodworkers for the massive German-style restaurant is designed to allow a boisterous festiveness common to other branches of the Hofbrauhaus franchise. "You are actually encouraged to get up on them and sing 'ein prosit,' and toast," said Kevin Townsell, managing partner of the Buffalo location.

The former Bison chip dip and Upstate Milk Cooperative plant at 190 Scott St. is becoming a restaurant that can hold about 1,000 customers. It will offer a tall-ceilinged beer hall inside, a beer garden outside, patio tables, and a banquet room.

If all goes well, Townsell said, it'll open on Labor Day. "If we get delayed, we get delayed," he said. "We're doing everything we can to be open Sept. 1."

Hofbrauhaus Buffalo's beer garden and patio seating will hold about 300 outside. (Hofbrauhaus Buffalo)

If you've visited one of the eight Hofbrauhaus locations in the United States, you know what to expect. The restaurant will feature servers in dirndls and lederhosen carrying steins of beer, platters of sausage, schnitzel and sauerbraten, against a backdrop of live music.

About 300 will fit outside, more than 500 inside at long tables, with communal seating for parties under eight to 10. A mezzanine offers another drinking perch, and a banquet room will hold about 180.

Customers can hear live German music every day, starting with the Frankfurters on Thursdays. Sundays will likely be Polish night, such as Those Idiots once a month. The restaurant will eventually have an apartment to house traveling musicians, Townsell said.

Hofbrauhaus will only sell its own beer, brewed on-site. Its system should be able to produce 4,000 barrels annually, with no off-site sales.

It will have a wall of stein lockers, where folks can keep their quaffing vessels. Televisions near the bar will offer sporting events.

There will also be a gift shop. Considering the $5 million restaurant's size and national following, Townsell said, "this should be a destination restaurant."

Hofbrauhaus is one step closer to opening

*****

Bedrock points healthy: Erica Sikorski's parents built a seasonal restaurant out of a bait shop along the Lake Erie shore.

Last year, her father, Richard, died of a heart attack a day after the Bedrock Eatery reopened.

"Since then, something inside me changed, where I felt the burning desire to sustain his legacy and kind of carry that torch for him," she said. "He put his heart, blood, sweat and tears into this place, and I couldn't see giving it away to somebody without at least trying this venture."

On June 11, Erica debuted a restaurant that's dedicated to providing healthier food options. The shift toward more plant-based food, made without preservatives, has more to do with reconsidering her own diet, which started two years ago, she said.

The renamed Bedrock, 4038 Hoover Road, Hamburg, doesn't sell hot dogs. The new Bedrock menu aims for more vegetables, less corn syrup and better meats, "more of a healthier diet," Sikorski said.

Bedrock has an up-close-and-personal view of Lake Erie. (Bedrock)

Sandwich options include a bison burger ($16) with Swiss and red onion on brioche with jalapeno garlic aioli, and portobello mushroom caps ($13), goat cheese, sun-dried tomato and an egg on brioche.

Bedrock offers some old-fashioned pleasers, too, like a fried bologna sandwich ($13) topped with American cheese, caramelized onions and an egg.

Salads include a steak salad ($16) with goat cheese, pickled onions, romaine lettuce, cabbage, roasted red peppers and pumpkin seeds, and a Beach Fiesta ($14) with legumes, romaine, cabbage, margarita salsa, tortilla strips, sunflower seeds and jalapeno garlic aioli.

Snacks ($5) include tortilla chips with legume mix, onion rings and battered pickle spears.

Tortilla chips and mixed legumes, a sort of bean-forward salsa. (Bedrock)

Hours: Bedrock Eatery, 4038 Hoover Road, Hamburg. 4 to 10 p.m. daily. Phone: 980-6677.

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

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