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blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Venerable developer Rocco Termini, heralded chef Mike Andrzejewski, Signature Development’s Jason Rothschild and Ben Siegel of BMS Design Studio—who have all pitched in to make Hotel at the Lafayette a symbol of Buffalo’s resurgence—have unveiled a slightly smaller project that will placate Italian food lovers and winos in the downtown area.

Tappo, Mike Andrzejewski’s fourth restaurant in Buffalo, officially opens Saturday at 338 Ellicott St., Buffalo, but Buffalo.com was afforded a sneak peek at one of Buffalo’s few restaurants with rooftop dining space (Soho Burger Bar and The Steer were the only two others we could come up with).

Buffalo Rising was descriptive as usual in previewing the interior design, and Siegel (not to be confused with Block Club great Ben Siegel) and Rothschild brought their A-game with a mixture of open-air potential by the front bar as well as a romantic dimly-lit back dining area.

The two primary draws, however, are a massive wall of wine bottles—nearly floor to ceiling—where customers can snag an Italian wine for dinner. Considering the restaurant’s name is Italian for “cork,” and many of the dining tables have a layer of old corks under the glass, it’s no secret the restaurant’s focus is on imported fermented grapes. Lower-end bottles run between $15 and $20.

Here’s Termini’s quote to BR’s Newell Nussbaumer in regard to the restaurant’s mission:

“We’re going to be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, hoping to bring some more people back to Downtown Buffalo on the weekends. It will be a great place to grab a meal, a glass of wine and then head to the waterfront (or vice versa). Bottles of wine start at $15. Out of the 1500 bottles that the restaurant has in its reserves, many will be affordable… there are plenty of decent wines out there that don’t need to be priced at $30 and up.”

We learned that Seabar’s sushi chef Phil Limina, a culinary arts graduate from Paul Smith College and former Williamsville South Billie, will take over the chef role at Tappo—and it’ll be worthwhile to try Limina’s hand at a cuisine different than beef on weck sushi rolls.

According to Buffalo Business First, Tappo seats 180 inside and 50 on the roof.

A slew of small samples were passed around—orechiette with olive oil, tomatoes and white beans; meatballs (light and sweet) on toasted Italian bread, fried zucchini with a marinara sauce and a mini pork sandwich on exceptional bread (the soft, crusty kind you could enjoy plain). 

Update, 6/18—2 p.m.: We tracked down the Tappo menu from The Buffalo News food editor Andrew Galarneau’s blog on Tappo, and we’ve posted it below.

(Here are the corks nestled on a layer below the surface of the dining table.)

(Here’s a view of the restaurant’s southern wall, a delightful brick.)

(Rooftop image 1)

(Another interior photo with Mike Andrzejewski making an appearance in the lower left)

(Rooftop view from the eastern side of the building)

(Orechiette, tomatoes, olive oil, okra, etc)

(Meatball smothered in mozzarella)

(Fried zucchini)

(The gold dome peeks its head out in this rooftop view)

(Another perspective of the restaurant’s front entrance with the retractable pseudo-garage doors)

TAGGED: ben siegel, bms design studio, ellicott street, jason rothschild, mike andrzejewski, rocco termini, tappo

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