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Food and Drink

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 traditiona…

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Inside American restaurants, the most dangerous work pays the least. Servers get to keep their share of tips, without which they would make less than minimum wage. That usually brings them out ahead of kitchen workers, often by a sizable margin. At Tappo, the Italian-American restaurant on Buffalo's Ellicott Street, management is trying something new: asking customer…

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On the first truly pleasant spring day of 2019, I was at the Little Club on Hertel Avenue, trying to become a better restaurant critic. One recurring reader complaint is that I don’t offer much wine insight. It’s a fair cop, as the Brits say. Which was why I was across the street from Ristorante Lombardo, in the family’s new wine-bar-slash-graduate-seminar. General Mana…

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Before it was wiped out for a highway ramp, there was a restaurant called Desiderio’s on William Street in Cheektowaga. From 1968 to 1989, Michael Desiderio helped supply the neighborhood with chicken Parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, and other Italian American standards. Another specialty, it would become clear, was Italian American restaurant owners. One of Michael’s…

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One member of the Aroma restaurant family has ceased operations. Trattoria Aroma North French, at 4840 N. French Road in East Amherst, concluded service on May 26. The closing was planned; partner Dave Cosentino said he's already sold to a buyer who expects to open an authentic Mexican restaurant later this summer. "It is time to tighten up, get smaller and focus …

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Sitting down to an oversized plateful of spaghetti smothered in red sauce, and blanketed with bubbling cheese, satisfies like little else. Parmed anything is the epitome of comfort food — not fancy or new but familiar and filling. Red-sauce joints, serving platefuls of parmed, sauced-up entrees, are something you’ll find across America. One of the lesser-known, and more…

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After roughly 18 years away, Michael Gibney is coming home to open his first restaurant in Buffalo. Working with his parents – Michael Sr. and Mary Ann – Gibney plans to start a pasta-focused Italian restaurant at 534 Elmwood Ave., the former Joe's Deli and Off the Wall. The Buffalo Planning Board approved the restaurant on Monday; a timeline for its opening should foll…

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Hold on, Linguine’s fans. Just as spring finally settles in, the Bowmansville family Italian restaurant is getting ready to bud again. “Late spring, maybe the end of May, or June,” said chef-owner Vincent Desiderio. Construction on the expanded building and parking lot at 5354 Genesee St., Bowmansville, is nearly finished. “There’s a lot of people waiting, and they’v…

Food and Drink

This Friday, skip meat in style and treat yourself to a little old-school Italian in Niagara Falls. At Fortuna’s, 827 19th St., shrimp scampi ($23) is one of the venerable family restaurant’s pitch-perfect sautéed pastas, with layers of flavor built in the pan. Fat shrimp are cooked long enough to contribute flavor but not to the point of vulcanization. Then there’s …

Food and Drink

Chef’s Amherst location is official, with a signed lease on Sheridan Drive. But don’t tie on your spaghetti bibs just yet. “It’s a ways off,” said Chef’s owner Louis Billittier Jr. Plans for what exactly will go inside the 3,000-square-foot space are under discussion, he said. “We’re going to come out with a whole different concept,” he said. It’ll still be Chef’s…

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Hanan Samuel grew up close to the tourist frenzy in Niagara Falls, watching the flood of visitors from across the globe as he completed his education at Niagara Catholic High School, then Niagara University. Comfort with and an understanding of his surroundings prompted Samuel to open his first restaurant, Catania, on Feb. 12 in the Wingate by Wyndham hotel at 333 Rainb…

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Update, Jan. 25: Chef's has taken to Facebook to squash the original Buffalo Business First story and follow-up reports from other outlets that plans for a Williamsville Place location had begun to unfold, but the iconic downtown Italian restaurant did request insight from its 16,000 followers as to how a location would be received in the Amherst-Williamsville area. The…

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A house salad is a window into a restaurant’s soul. The work that goes into the house salad, the throw-in with entrees, provides a clue to how much that house cares about the little things. If you’re served a bowl of ice-cold iceberg shards with a lonely cucumber slice and a wedge of mealy Florida tomato, you can usually expect a similarly minimalist effort applied to t…

Food and Drink

When Rick Thomas decided to get into the pizza business, he went back to his roots. All the way back to Naples, where his grandfather Felice DiPalma was a master of Neapolitan-style pizza, a “maestro pizzaiolo.” The resulting restaurant, Forno Napoli, opened Oct. 23 in Amherst, at 1280 Sweet Home Road. After training in Naples, and importing a custom-made wood-fired …

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Whizzing along the New York State Thruway we’ve often seen the faded Lunetta’s Restaurant sign around the Cleveland Drive area. Finally, we decided to try it. Lunetta’s reminded us of an Italian diner/pizzeria. Not unlike a Greek version, Lunetta’s hits all the Italian notes, but also offers items like turkey bacon club ($8.10), roast beef on kaiser roll ($6.95) and hot…