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It started with families eating together. Carmelo Raimondi’s father, also named Carmelo, ran the Carmelo’s Coat of Arms restaurant in Lewiston, where Alessandro Renzi’s father, Ernesto, brought his family for supper. Both Italian immigrants living in Niagara County, the men became friends. Their families got to know each other. Their sons grew into fathers themselves, r…

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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…

Featured

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…

Food and Drink

Fresh pasta is a daunting task for restaurants, requiring significant investments. Sometimes it requires expensive equipment, but it always demands cooks skilled in forming its shapes and cooking them in the narrow time window fresh pasta allows. Here’s to places that make housemade pasta a priority. 1) Ristorante Lombardo, 1198 Hertel Ave., 879-4291 Pasta dish: T…

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A new restaurant offering coal-fired pizza is coming to a historic site in Lewiston. The site, 800 Center St., Lewiston, was last an automobile repair business. Now Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen is underway there. Its owners are Michael Hibbard and David Murphy, who are opening their first restaurant. Hibbard, whose family owns Hibbard Custard, runs his own specialty ice cream…

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During my year as The Buffalo News’ designated eater, I got to enjoy the work of some of the region’s most talented cooks. Here are 10 dishes that punctuated some of my year’s most memorable meals. They’re not necessarily the biggest plates, using the rarest ingredients, or the specialty of the house. They are dishes I was eating when something clicked for me, helping me …

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Three and a half years ago, I was appointed restaurant critic of The Buffalo News. Some 200 restaurant reviews later, my view of my job has expanded a smidge. My core mission is still giving readers actionable intelligence on where to spend their dining dollars. Put another way, it’s my job to find and proclaim the best in Western New York’s eating life. “The best” is a …

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When white-tablecloth chefs decide to relax and do blue-collar food, the results can be memorable. That's why you might want to stop by Ashker's Juice Bar, 1002 Elmwood Ave. Monday night. Carmelo Raimondi and David Murphy of Carmelo's Restaurant in Lewiston and Victor Parra Gonzalez of Jaguar at the Bistro in Youngstown are Niagara County fine-dining chefs combining forc…