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Bringing Italy to Allen: Madonna’s ready for fall

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Italian restaurants are a dime-a-dozen in Buffalo, but one of the city’s most flourishing neighborhoods—Allentown—has a dearth of red-sauce joints.

Enter Madonna’s, a project of current Cafe 59 owner Chris Connolly. The new Italian restaurant at 62 Allen St.—the location that once housed Fiddle Heads and Atmosphere @ 62—will open sometime this fall, with the exact start date dependent on permits from the City of Buffalo.

“I looked at Allentown, and the neighborhood lacks Indian food, a sushi place and an Italian restaurant open for dinner,” Connolly said. “I wouldn’t know where to start with Indian and sushi, so it was Italian by default.”

Madonna’s will only serve dinner and late-night fare to start, as Cafe 59 and Panaro’s Restaurant do well to capture the lunch crowd. Connolly promises that Madonna’s food will be similar “from scratch, by hand” creations that Cafe 59 prides itself on. Entrees are expected to run around $15 with appetizers hovering between $7 and $10.

The core menu will be small and red-sauce based—much like Santasiero’s on Niagara Street, Connolly said—but will allow for rotating specials (some small plates, too) that Connolly’s quite excited about. He plans to handle a considerable amount of chef duties, but he plans to hire someone else in addition.

Connolly expects the clientele to be the typical Allentown mix, noting that it’ll be an appropriate place for a date or a dinner with your mother, but also a place where you can hang out at the bar and eat mozzarella sticks in shorts and flip-flops. (Bear in mind, the mozzarella sticks will not be wearing shorts and flip-flops.)

The name refers to the singer-actress Madonna, not the Christian artistic depiction of the Virgin Mary, if you were curious. The restaurant’s Facebook page states, “Italian for ‘my lady,’ Madonna’s will be just that; part sauce stirring nonna, part pop-strumpet, Madonna’s IS Allentown.” I don’t know about you, but a pop strumpet sounds delicious for dessert.

While local foodies may bemoan the presence of another red-sauce joint in Buffalo, it’s the balance of cuisine that’s important, the availability of options to suit every taste in major neighborhoods.

“We’re starting to see a nice ‘restaurant row’ develop here on Allen,” Connolly said, referring to newcomers likeGatur’s Ethiopian Cuisine at 69 Allen St. as well as Cantina Loco and Allen Street Hardware to current staples like Mother’s, Gabriel’s Gate, Fat Bob’s, Sample, The Pink and more.

TAGGED: allentown, cafe 59, fiddle heads, italian buffalo, madonna's, restaurants

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