One of the most unusual fast-serve restaurant concepts to show up recently has emerged in the food court at the Eastern Hills Mall in Clarence. ¶ If I said it was Chinese cooks who grew up in Brazil, no one would blame you for expecting an exotic menu. ¶ But Tom and Betty Chung’s specialty is right in the heart of down-home Americana: pies. ¶ Piemania (4545 Transit Road, Clarence, 817-6702) serves up handmade pies in savory and sweet categories, boasting a buttery, flaky crust.
The savory numbers, from beef and chicken pot pie, to spinach and cheese and Buffalo chicken, are $5.99 with a side salad. Then there’s a shepherd’s pie ($6.99) with beef and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes.
The sweet choices range from apple ($4.99) to custard crumble ($3.50) and strawberry ($2.75).
The Chungs left China in the 1960s during the Cultural Revolution and settled in Sao Paolo, Brazil, where they married, said Tiffany Huebel, their daughter. They came to the U.S. about 10 years ago, lived in Florida and California, and decided to settle in Buffalo. They liked the cold, and thought they could start a business here, she said.
Her mother had dreamed for years of opening a pie store, Huebel said, and last year, she did. “Brazilians really enjoy pies with a light and flaky consistency, very much like the Europeans,” Huebel said.
Besides the standard pie lineup, the Chungs are considering two Brazilian treats for the menu, a pielike pastry dish called empada, filled with chicken and a homemade Brazilian style “cream cheese,” and coxinha, a fried chicken fritter. At present those two items are special order only.
Most of Western New York’s food trucks are launching culinary careers, but for the owners of Elma’s Blue Lantern Lounge, adding a food truck just seems like the best way to expand the business.
Restaurateurs Tom and Donna Pease expect to debut their Da Blue truck at Buffalo’s Larkin Square at lunchtime Friday.
“Expanding our footprint at our current location just wasn’t an option due to the constraints the property presented. A second location sounded good on paper but unfortunately, we couldn’t be in two places at one time,” said Tom Pease. “The need to be hands-on and available to the customer led us to the decision to go mobile.”
The initial truck menu will range from coleslaw ($3) to a lobster cake sandwich ($10). It’ll include dishes the restaurant celebrates, including hand-dipped chicken strips ($6) and an Ellicottville Brewing Co. lager bratwurst with caramelized onion relish on a pretzel roll ($9).
Opening: New Japanese restaurant Sato (739 Elmwood Ave., 931-9146, satobuffalo.com) opened Tuesday.
Chef Satomi Smith plans to offer authentic Japanese ramen noodle soup, among other Japanese cuisine, in the space formerly occupied by O3.
Delayed: On Hertel Avenue, Fiamma Steak’s resurrection and rebranding as BOSS has been delayed until next month, at least, as ownership issues are worked out, said Jason Briandi, Fiamma food and beverage director.