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Food News You Can Use

The Lodge
Seared tuna, The Lodge.
Bistro Europa construction.
Pork belly with plantains, Providence Social.

Chew On This

Chippewa’s newest dining and nightlife destination, The Lodge, officially entered its soft-open phase earlier this month. The public is now welcome to stop by seven days a week for lunch, happy hour, dinner, and late-night service, and to check out the impressive $1.2 million renovation that turned a tired party bar into an antler-festooned, cabin-chic urban oasis that bills itself as a departure from the typical Chippewa establishment.

A peek at executive chef Fortune Macri’s “bold new American” menu reveals a balanced mix of refined casual fare—think blackened fish tacos, soft-shell crab po’ boys, waffle and fried chicken sandwiches, and Korean short ribs—and fine dining entrees (served after 5pm), including roasted bass with charred yellow tomato risotto; seared ahi tuna with crispy shiitake, edamame, and asparagus compote; and a 30-ounce cowboy steak with sweet potato-tasso hash. The Lodge’s sophistication extends to the bar, where patrons can choose from a menu of specialty cocktails featuring fresh ingredients (and, thankfully, a variety of spirits beyond flavored vodkas); 12 beers on tap; and an extensive list of craft beers by the bottle. According to co-owner Peter Altholz, The Lodge will also offer high-quality entertainment ranging from live music to trivia every night of the week.

The Lodge’s official grand opening will take place in early October with a three-day public celebration featuring live music and a formal ribbon-cutting.

Bistro Europa’s planned move into the former Golden Key tavern at 378 Connecticut Street took a step forward this week, with asbestos remediation completed and remodeling ready to begin. The intimacy (read: tininess) of Europa’s space on Elmwood Avenue, where chef/owners Steve and Ellen Gedra have been raising the bar for local kitchens for almost four years, is certainly part of the restaurant’s charm, but the new space will allow the Gedras to offer full bar service and seat twice as many patrons, and to work out of a more spacious kitchen.

The Golden Key will be missed: Even as it limped along toward the end, with just a handful of bottles of booze and the odd cat wandering in and out, the vibe remained delightfully weird and the bottles of Genny were cold. Europa’s current digs will be missed, too, but we look forward to seeing what the Gedras can do with no spatial restrictions to their vision. The renovations will take a year, at which point Europa will join Martin Cooks and the other denizens of the Horsefeathers Market, as well as Burning Books, in the revitalization of Connecticut Street.

• Also breathing new life into the West Side restaurant scene is the Providence Social (490 Rhode Island Street), open now in the space formerly occupied by Prime 491 (and Roseland before that), an upscale steakhouse. Josh Hanzlian—a Buffalo native with restaurant experience in New York City, who returned to Western New York in 2011—has created an appealing menu of small plates that can be shared, as well as an impressive and intriguing cocktail list. There are entrees, too, if you’re not the sharing kind.

• A new restaurant has opened in the University District on Kenmore Avenue. The Howling Rooster Cafe (299 Kenmore Avenue), owned by Carmen Paterniti, opened in March and is drawing locals as well as the UB crowd for breakfast and lunch (8am-3pm) and Friday fish fries (until 9pm).

• Allentown has welcomed one new pizza place—Allentown Pizza (94 Elmwood Avenue,at the corner of Allen and Elmwood)—and is preparing to welcome another: Crust Pizza Bar (242 Allen Street), a make-your-own-pie place where Sample used to be.

• The Gypsy Parlor (367 Grant Street) opened softly last week, offering a satisfyingly small menu of salads, seafood, sandwiches, and entrees, as well as beer, wine, and craft cocktails. (Notice a theme here? Has there ever been a better time since Prohibition to be a booze-drinker in Buffalo?) The place hosts DJs on Saturday nights, too. The official grand opening party is October 17: “Things may get a bit strange,” say the proprietors.

• The Butterwood group of restaurants continues its regional expansion with Brioso by Butterwood, a South American inspired restaurant and lounge in Williamsville’s new Wyndham Garden Hotel (5195 Main Street). This is Butterwood’s third face, joining the original desserts bakery and Butterwood Sweet & Savory at the Lafayette Hotel.

• Staring at 50 pounds of tomatoes? Wish you could can a winter’s worth of dilly beans with which to stir your martinis? On September 30, Slow Food Buffalo Niagara will resume its last-Monday-of-the-month programming with “Preserving the Harvest: Canning & Pickling Basics” at 6:30pm in Trocaire College’s Russell J. Salvatore School of Hospitality & Business (6681Transit Road, behind Russell’s Steaks).

Participating on the panel will be Scotty Harris, a self-taught dedicated cook and author of the cooking blog, Cooking in Theory and Practice; Remy Rotella Orlowski, owner of The Sample Seed Shop and former cooking/canning instructor with the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District’s adult education program; and Devon Karn, who has taught classes for a Vermont food co-op on canning and pickling, lacto fermentation, and yogurt making.

Food Truck Tuesdays at Larkin Square have been continued though next week. The last of the popular congregation of the region’s mobile kitchens starts at 5pm, Tuesday, October 1. The weather is supposed to be quite nice that evening.

• Here’s a good cause: On Saturday, September 28, Merge restaurant (439 Delaware Avenue) is supporting local, organic food and farming by donating 15 percent of its evening revenue to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY). Currently 14 restaurants around the state have signed on to donate a portion of their proceeds to NOFA-NY. The fundraising event is part of the NOFA-NY Locavore Challenge, a month-long challenge to inspire awareness and action in eating locally and organically through events and activities held around the state and online.

• As this newspaper hits the stands, there are four full days of events left in Buffalo Beer Week, including Saturday’s Buffalo Beer Geek Festival at Artisan Kitchens & Baths (200 Amherst Street, Buffalo). There are two sessions (1-4pm, 6-9pm). Get your tickets now ($40 in advance, $45 at the door for one session; $70 for an all-day pass) at Premier Gourmet, Blue Monk, Cole’s, Pizza Plant, KegWorks, or Aurora Brew Works: Only 150 spots are available for each session.

Visit www.buffalobeerweek.com for a complete list of the weekend’s beery happenings.

• Speaking of beer, exciting news on that front: A new beer venture, Resurgence Brewing Company and Beer Garden, announced this week that it will open in the spring at 1250 Niagara Street, between Breckenridge and Auburn. Featuring indoor and outdoor beer gardens—complete with communal picnic table seating, fire pits, and bocce courts—Resurgence will turn out craft beer, offer a simple menu, and provide a conducive spot to sip a pit and wonder what ever happened to Danny Zack’s.

Just two blocks away, Community Beer Works is in its second year of production and booming. Pearl Street keeps rolling out the barrels. Flying Bison is looking to move into a new, bigger and better space. The Old First Ward Brewery, at Gene McCarthy’s Pub, is getting ready to produce beer, and so is Big Ditch Brewery. The revolution continues.

• Last week’s Silo City debut of The Workshop, the pop-up dining venture by former Mike A’s chef Edward Forster, whet the appetite for more. To keep track of Forster’s plans, find the The Workshop on Facebook or visit theworkshopbuffalo.wordpress.com.

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