Developer Rocco Termini has landed another restaurateur for his ever-growing portfolio of buildings in Downtown Buffalo. This time it’s the former Golden Swan that is getting the treatment.
Chef James Roberts will be opening an eatery called Toutant (pronounced too-tawny) at 437 Ellicott Street, which neighbors SeaBar and a number of other establishments that are currently popping up in the district.
It is said that Toutant will feature “contemporary country cuisine and libations, served in a comfortable, casual setting.” Chef Roberts has already made a name for himself in the area, after relocating to Buffalo in 2007. Since that time he has been cheffing at a prestigious country club, where he was able to capitalize on his Southern Louisiana/American South rooted culinary background, while experimenting with variations of traditional cuisines from around the world. Toutant’s upscale Southern comfort fare will conjure up menu items ranging from fresh Gulf seafood and shellfish to buttermilk fried chicken. Filling in the gaps will be crowd favorites that include jambalaya, house-smoked sausages, cast iron skillet cornbread, and authentic barbecue. Not to be outdone by the food, the bar will boast a range of daiquiris, local beer and wine, hand-selected bourbons, whiskeys, and moonshines.
Roberts graduated top of his class at Johnson & Wales University with a culinary degree. He has traveled the country in pursuit of the obtaining the knowledge, the prowess and the cooking knowhow to handle to, one day, establish his own restaurant – when the right time and the right opportunity presented themselves. After winning a series of awards, participating in speaking engagements, honing his skills in a fast paced professional kitchen environment with a cadre of talents by his side, that time has finally come.
For those who are familiar with the old Golden Swan, you might think that the space would be limiting. Far from it. Once the build-out is complete, the restaurant will seat upwards of 120 diners on three floors!
After falling in love with Buffalo, and carefully inspecting a number of different opportunities, Roberts has finally settled on a restaurant opportunity that he believes will help to elevate the culinary scene in Greater Buffalo.
Toutant, named after Roberts’ great grandfather’s trapping and fishing camp in South Louisiana, is expected to be open in early 2015.