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DiTondo's restaurant keeping family name, losing the parm

The DiTondo's name is staying on the building at 370 Seneca St., but lots of other things are set to change at one of Buffalo's oldest restaurants.

A great-granddaughter of founder Sebastino DiTondo is returning to Buffalo with her chef husband to take over the operation, started in 1904.

The focus on good food will continue, but the menu will turn towards traditional Italian tastes, like recipes featuring the charms of garlic, anchovies, fresh tomatoes and basil.

If you're looking for spaghetti parm, Chef's is right down the street. Instead, classics like cacio e pepe and in-season fresh tomato sauce with basil will be the sort of pastas to expect, said new owner Rita DiTondo.

"The food will be more traditional Italian, kind of pulling from our background, and what our experiences have been in the food industry, and in life," she said. "Traditional Italian: focus on just a few simple ingredients, really great quality ingredients."

They hope to open in February. There will be some internal renovations and kitchen refitting before that happens. One idea is for a small counter where customers will be able to buy some of the ingredients used in the kitchen, like high-quality dried pastas, sauces, anchovies and olive oil, she said.

[Related: DiTondo's sausage sandwich one of greatest hits from Buffalo's oldest restaurants | Last parm: DiTondo's closes after 114 years ]

They're going to drop the "tavern" part of the name and just call it DiTondo's.

DiTondo, who grew up in midstate, served Friday night dinner at the place while she attended the University at Buffalo.

As DiTondo's Tavern celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004, Mary DiTondo and son-in-law Al Rohloff posed with family pictures. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Then she got into the hospitality business. She met future husband Fabio Consonni in northern Italy, while working as a sommelier at a boutique hotel on Lake Garda called Villa Fiordaliso. He was a sous chef, and they got married.

They've worked in New York City, and Seattle, where they wanted to open a restaurant. They did some pop-ups, and looked at some spaces, DiTondo said, but then reconsidered. Her father, John DiTondo, bought the building, but won't be involved in the restaurant, she said.

"When this opportunity came along, we decided that's that," DiTondo said. "We were going to come to Buffalo and and share our love of all things Italian with Buffalo, and carry on the family legacy."

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