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Tappo’s Keys to Success

When it comes to hot restaurants in Buffalo, Tappo is red hot. All one has to do is look at the dinner reservation list to realize that the Italian eatery is just about operating at capacity (for dinner). And their lunch time business is pretty solid as well.

So what are some of the keys to Tappo’s success? Co-owner Rocco Termini explains that consistency is the biggest factor. He says that they keep the formula the same – if it works, don’t mess with it. He also says that he has capitalized on being open on Mondays, when most other restaurants are closed. Tappo features live jazz music on Mondays (My Cousin Tone’ plays on the rooftop patio, sponsored by JazzBuffalo), which brings in a crowd of 200 people to dine.

Eggplant parmesan on the left, with some meatballs on the right

To tell you the truth, I can’t remember the last time that I had eaten at Tappo. But a few of us decided to head on over for an early dinner on Sunday, to eat and drink on the patio. We shared a few plates, but it was the eggplant parmesan that really knocked our socks off. The eggplant was not mushy at all, or stringy, which is usually the case. On the contrary, it was the right balance of crisp outside, with a melt in your mouth interior. Rarely do I order eggplant because few cooks know how to prepare it right. Not here. This eggplant was magnificent. It was saucy, light but filling, and delectable. We also ordered some meatballs, which were also spot on – a nice balance of garlic, fennel, and natural sweetness from the sauce that they were simmered in.

Mundy Cakes Italian cookies

On Sundays, Tappo offers up a Sunday Special that is essentially a family-style meal. For $20 a person, diners get cheese bread, tossed salad, meatballs, pasta bolognese, and cannoli. Add to that the $16 bottles of wine across the board (every day – 30 varieties), and there are plenty of reasons to put Tappo on your list of weekly stopovers, including the platter of Italian cookies (chocolate, biscotti, Neapolitan, and cucidati) made by Mundy Cakes. They also serve a mean unsweetened ice tea, which goes a long way on a hot summer’s evening. To me, these are all ingredients to running a good restaurant – stick with what you’re good at, keep it simple and straight-forward, and give the people what they want each and every time.

Tappo | 338 Ellicott Street | Buffalo, NY 14203 | (716) 259-8130 | Facebook

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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