Author: Julie Kirsch

Julie Kirsch

A native of Western New York whose articles focus upon food and development in Kenmore.

Jay Langfelder, of the wildly popular O.G. Wood Fire, now brings you Jay’s Artisan Pizza, an eat-in pizzeria in the heart of Kenmore. Langfelder, a veritable pizza-making genius, has a reputation for serving expertly prepared Neapolitan-style pizzas to long lines of devoted fans. And now that he has a permanent brick and mortar location, you won’t have to chase him around the city the next time that you are craving one of his first-rate creations. Working within a tradition that emphasizes technique and methodology, Langfelder uses an ancient method of making dough that begins with a wild yeast sourdough starter,…

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I recently had the opportunity to check out the reinvention of Nick’s Place Express in Kenmore. It had been on my list of places to try for some time, so when the kids requested French toast, I knew the perfect place to take them. I had not been to the original Nick’s Place Express, or even Nick’s Place on Amherst (which has quite a following), so I had no idea what to expect. The story behind the restaurant, and its reinvention, is as follows: Nick, the owner of Nick’s Place Express (hereafter ‘Nick Jr.’), is the son of the Nick…

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Given my inability to prepare a simple breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and toast for a group without experiencing a full-on panic attack, I have the utmost respect for chefs, line cooks, and others working in the restaurant industry. Cooking for a large crowd requires a level of grace, coordination, and timing that I could never hope to achieve. I am therefore amazed that the young and immensely talented, Victor Parra Gonzalez, has managed to open two different and equally wonderful restaurants within the past six months. Although Parra Gonzalez is pretty well incapable of preparing anything that is not…

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With the revitalization of the city, I find myself having an ever-expanding list of reasons to drive downtown. And every trip downtown seems to bring with it an exciting discovery – a new shop, restaurant, or development project. On a recent trip to one of my favorite restaurants, Casa Azul, I caught sight of a large furniture store that I had previously failed to notice. After finishing my lunch, I walked next-door to investigate. Upon entering, I was delighted to discover three sprawling floors of furniture. (There is also a fourth floor that serves as a warehouse and is not part…

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Residents of Kenmore have lamented the lack of a decent coffee shop in their village for as long as I can remember. While you can certainly order a coffee at one of several restaurants in Kenmore, you could not – until this week – order a coffee from an actual coffee shop. Now, at SPoT Coffee, you cannot only grab your standard drip coffee, but any number of espresso-based specialties as well. As a native of Kenmore, I can tell you that residents have dreamed of a better and more beautiful village. And while many of us live and work…

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Registration is now open for the Healthy Buffalo 8 & Under Boys & Girls Basketball League. Healthy Buffalo has a reputation for running some of the most popular and well-organized leagues in Western New York, including its co-ed winter broomball league that plays at Canalside. The organization has had tremendous success with its men’s and women’s adult basketball leagues. And, over the years, Healthy Buffalo founder, Chas Kirsch, and head coach, Fran Snyder, talked about developing an equally great league for kids—something that involved the same level of dedication and organization as the adult leagues. They wanted to recruit some…

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One of my favorite stops for lunch in downtown Buffalo is Expo Market. The market provides a variety of food options in a beautiful, open, and spacious environment. There is really something for everyone at Expo: sushi, salads, artisan sandwiches, pasta, Burmese, and soon enough, Mexican. It is a great place to visit if you are craving something healthy or simply cannot decide what you want eat. The market generally closes its doors early in the evening after dinner hours (Monday through Friday, 9pm; Saturday, 8pm). However, Fanny Olaya and Calvin Rice of Baila Salsa have brought new life and…

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Victor Parra Gonzalez and Vincenza (Zina) Lapi have combined their culinary talent and are ready to bring you Casa Azul this December. Anyone familiar with 128 Genesee Street (the old Dog é Style) will know that the name, Casa Azul (‘blue house’), is fitting. But the building’s blue exterior is not the only source of inspiration behind the restaurant’s name; it is also inspired by the famous Frida Kahlo museum, La Casa Azul, in Mexico. I was not surprised to hear that Parra Gonzalez and Lapi have chosen to integrate Kahlo into the concept of their restaurant. One of the…

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Chef and owner of Youngstown’s beloved Jaguar at the Bistro, Victor Parra Gonzalez, will open his much-anticipated new restaurant, Las Puertas, later this year. Las Puertas, or ‘the doors,’ located in city’s vibrant West Side, will be an intimate space seating only 35 guests. This is considerably smaller than Jaguar at the Bistro, which seats roughly 150. The size of the restaurant will encourage interaction between the kitchen and guests, and allow Parra Gonzalez to express more fully his creative culinary potential. Moreover, the restaurant’s location within the city will make Parra Gonzalez’s cooking more accessible to many current and…

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Pasión celebrated its relaunch over the weekend with a wildly successful party that involved great food, drink, and entertainment. The restaurant rolled out its new menu and allowed guests to experience the culinary vision of its new chef, Adrian Riera Muñoz. Muñoz, born and raised in Havana Cuba, moved to the United States just four months ago to continue his journey in the culinary world. At Pasión, Muñoz will be preparing Latin American classics, such as ropa vieja and the Cuban sandwich, as well as his own innovations. I ordered the crab cakes after hearing the guests at a neighboring…

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