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When Bacchus Wine Bar and Restaurant opened in 2002, diners by a window could enjoy views of customers sidling into the porn store across the street and young people exploring the boundaries of alcohol poisoning filling the sidewalks. The drinking hasn’t stopped,  but the scruffy crowd moved on. The addition of more food-focused restaurants, well-monied travelers at new…

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The question started with SZND. The restaurant Andrew Gill and his mother, Cheryl Ann, opened off Hertel Avenue last month was originally going to be called Taste. But the dishes they planned to offer were creative, and they wanted a name that was distinctive. They chose SZND, pronounced “seasoned.” The vowel-ectomy carried through its motto: “EVRY THNGS BTR SZND.” …

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If you’re hungry before hitting Shea’s Buffalo Theatre for “Hamilton,” don’t waste your shot. Here are some places I would suggest you consider for reasons practical and sentimental. Inform your server of your curtain time so they can make sure your experience fits into your allotted time, so you can save your evening’s drama for the stage. Looking to raise a glass t…

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Every ambitious chef must learn how much culinary will they can impose on customers without going out of business. That essential tension of restaurant life is one of the central attractions of "Big Night," the 1996 film starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub. Last night two chef-owners who love the movie threw a dinner in its honor. This isn't the place for spoilers. B…

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Every ambitious chef must learn how much culinary will they can impose on customers without going out of business. That essential tension of restaurant life is one of the central attractions of "Big Night," the 1996 film starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub. Last night two chef-owners who love the movie threw a dinner in its honor. This isn't the place for spoilers. B…

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In three years and change, I’ve reviewed 173 restaurants in Western New York. (There are excellent places I haven’t reviewed yet, for which you have my apologies.) Of those, here are 20 places I recommend first. I rate restaurants on a scale of plates, with 10 being my top rating. Plates are an indicator of overall happiness, with quality of food, service, room and pric…

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If you start to sweat uncomfortably when thinking about conversation during a fancy dinner, here's an alternative in downtown Buffalo. Bacchus' 2015 Summer Film Series will provide plenty of welcome distractions or conversation starters, as you can mimic "blue steel," chuckle at Farva's antics or hang out with guys named Iceman, Maverick and Goose. Reservations at the re…

Buffalo

Bacchus, on Chippewa Street a few blocks from Shea’s Performing Arts Center, is a restaurant with range. It’s the only place in Buffalo offering its customers both valet parking and potato skins as an appetizer.“I grew up cooking in those places, with potato skins on the menu,” said chef-owner Brian Mietus. Now he owns a white-tablecloth fine dining restaurant that gives i…

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The 2015 season of Nickel City Chef adds Edward Forster of Buffalo Proper as the fifth member of the "home team." Those chefs will compete against other up-and-coming culinary talents in five live hour-long cooking battles this spring. Forster's cooking helped put Buffalo Proper on my list of best new restaurants of 2014. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. They usuall…

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The bars of Chippewa Street come and go, but for the last decade, Bacchus has remained a beacon of fine dining amid a sea of Long Island iced teas. Two years ago, chef Brian Mietus bought out restaurateur Steve Calvaneso and became master of his own domain. The result is fine dining without a hint of intimidation. You might goggle at the extensive wine list, but there’s no…

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Where is the most visually pleasing outdoor spot to watch a movie in Buffalo? In the summer months, I think that answer is an easy one: the back patio at Bacchus. The Chippewa Street restaurant is a long-established Queen City favorite, and over the years the Bacchus Summer Film Series has developed a dedicated audience for its Wednesday and Thursday screenings.It is no wo…