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How Sweet It Is

Dolci owner, David Simpson and employee, Kim Baer (photo by Jill Greenberg)

Elmwood Just Got Even Sweeter

Dave Simpson, owner of Dolci Bakery and Gelateria, is thrilled to be bringing his business back to the Elmwood Strip. His original location sat on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Breckenridge and closed its doors in January 2011. He moved his business to 205 Grant Street.

Simpson’s difficult choice to leave the Elmwood Village was twofold. He was forced to deal with an absentee landlord who was unwilling to attend to issues at the property and, at the same time, he was also looking to expand his business.

He began experimenting with breads and soups at his first location and began develop the concept of creating a café-style environment where villagers could pop in for a quick bite and a scoop or two of his famous gelato. The Elmwood and Breckenridge locale simply did not have the space for him to expand. So he moved to Grant Street on the city’s deeper West Side.

While the new digs did offer additional space, the location just wasn’t conducive to his plans. In less than six months, he was ready to move.

“Grant Street was just not ready for what we’re trying to do over there,” Simpson says.

He began talks with Jon DiBernado, owner of 802 Elmwood Avenue, and, as it turns out, DiBernado was on the lookout for a new tenant to occupy the space. Simpson jumped at the chance to move back to the Strip.

“It [the Elmwood Village] is where the life is in Buffalo,” says Simpson. “That’s where we need to be to fine-tune the Dolci concept.”

Currently occupying the space at 802 Elmwood Avenue is Delish, a popular pastry shop and cooking school. Debbie Clark, owner of Delish, is searching out another Elmwood hot spot to relocate her business. She has no plans to close up shop.

Dolci hopes to open in the beginning of June and Simpson couldn’t be happier.

Suburban Seafood

It seems impossibly far away. Transit Road might as well be in Pennsylvania for us city dwellers but, in reality, it’s just minutes from downtown. And while it’s true that we have a vast array of seafood in the city, sometimes venturing out of your comfort zone can prove to be a tasty treat.

Protocol Restaurant and Bar (6766 Transit Road) has been in the Pelczynski family for the last four decades. Practice makes perfect, and Paul Pelczynski wants diners across the city and suburbs to know that Protocol stands at the ready to serve. “I am a bit tired of being Buffalo’s best kept secret,” says Pelczynski.

He considers his restaurant to be one of the best seafood eateries around. Every evening the menu offers a minimum of three to four varieties of fish prepared over a dozen different ways. In addition to the standard house menu, executive chef Anthony Vitello runs daily fish specials that often include escolar (butterfish) or kajiki (Pacific blue marlin).

Protocol flies their fish in daily from Hawaii, Boston, and Alaska. “We are all about freshness,” Pelczynski says with pride.

Starting this summer, when patio season finally hits Buffalo, Protocol will be offering something new, sushi night outdoors. While sushi is an everyday item at this seafood house, Thursday nights will be quite an experience.

Protocol will begin featuring seafood and sushi night outside. The restaurant boasts a beautiful patio that seats nearly 40 guests and Thursday nights it will be the freshest place to be.

Sous chef Dave Miller, previously of Papaya Restaurant, will be hand-rolling sushi to order. A wide variety of freshly shucked clams and oysters will abound; raw or steamed, you can’t go wrong.

Fresh seafood and a warm summer night makes the short drive to the ‘burbs a breeze.

For more information on Protocol’s daily specials and fresh seafood, visit

Guacamole on Elmwood

If you happen to notice a shortage of avocados in our area, simply stop by 810 Elmwood to find out why.

Sole restaurant (810 Elmwood Avenue) quietly opened their doors this past weekend for a trial run of sorts. It actually wasn’t that quiet. Friday and Saturday night the restaurant was buzzing with curious and hungry foodies wanting to be the first to try Elmwood’s newest eatery.

The re-vamped restaurant boasts a beautiful new barroom with plethora of seating, including a communal table and plenty of bar stools. The second floor serves as the main dining area and overlooks the bar room below it. There is also a private dining room, which can seat approximately 12 diners.

The centerpiece of the distinctly pan-Latino menu is the tableside guacamole service ($12), which is a feast for both the eyes and belly. Made with several avocados, fresh tomatoes, onions, and other traditional ingredients, it is offered hot, medium, or mild. Served in a large bowl with heaping side of fresh tortilla chips, it’s a great way to start your meal or simply snack while enjoying a signature mojito.

Serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, Sole is the hot spot to be on Elmwood this summer.

What The Shuck?

He’s moving again. Steve Meli, owner and proprietor of Steve’s Clam Bar—pictured right with long-time employee Alexis Carroll—most recently located next to Cecelia’s Ristorante and Martini Bar (716 Elmwood Avenue) has found himself a new home.

Originally located at the old Merlin’s (now the Blue Monk), Steve operated his clam shack there for 17 years. He had a brief stint at M. T. Pockets on Hertel for a few years before building a sparkly new shack at the Cecelia’s location. He stayed there for just two seasons.

“Every year my business just gets busier and busier,” say Meli.

He is excited to make his move to the Hatch (329 Erie Street) located in the Erie Basin Marina. A waterfront location is a perfect fit to shuck some oysters and steam some clams. “The opportunity is a blessing,” Meli says. “Seafood and the waterfront location are a marriage made in heaven.”

He looks forward to being an integral part of the developing waterfront. He sites the various concerts and events held there and feels his business will flourish.

Opening last weekend, Steve, in addition to the vast array of seafood, will also be offering a selection of both beer and wine. Another new feature of the Clam Shack is that, as opposed to years previous, Meli will now be able to accept credit cards.

Steve’s Clam Shack will be open seven days a week, 11am-10pm, through the month of September.

Pull out your flip-flops, head to the water, and enjoy a pound of steamers. Don’t forget the hot sauce.

Beach Party

Buffalonians love a good party, and now there is another destination to consider when planning the next soiree.

Recently the Town of Hamburg took over the day-to-day operations of Woodlawn Beach State Park. Due to state budget cuts, the park faced the possibility of closing, but Hamburg came to its rescue.

The Lodge at Woodlawn Beach is one of the newest and most scenic venues in Western New York. The park is located on the easternmost terminus of Lake Erie and falls within the Buffalo metropolitan area.

Linda Rogers is the marketing/public relations consultant for the Town of Hamburg, and the operation of the Lodge falls into her hands. She is excited for this new endeavor and wants to get the word out that Buffalo has a new place to hold events.

“The park offers a beautiful, one-mile-long natural sand beach with lovely panoramic views and spectacular sunsets,” says Rogers.

Recently renovated, the Lodge can accommodate approximately 120 guests in their indoor facility and nearly 300 guests with the use of the outdoor courtyard.

The lodge provides both tables and chairs for the indoor room but additional rentals such as tents and the like are the responsibility of the party host. And while the Lodge works with several preferred caterers, including Oliver’s, Romanello’s South, and Ilio DiPaolo’s, the option of a caterer is left to the person or company renting the facility.

For further information regarding the Lodge at Woodlawn Beach, Linda Rogers can be reached at 609-2163 or via e-mail at

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