When we walk away from a restaurant experience, more often than not, it's what we didn't like that is more memorable than what we did. John Nacca and Pete Lezeska are friends and business partners who found themselves having a meal together and discussing what they didn't like about recent restaurant experiences — everything from the layout to the customer service. Although neither of them had restaurant experience, they decided to open up the kind of place they would want to eat at and staff it with people that are knowledgeable about the industry. That restaurant, Nosh (47 Russell Street), opened on July 1 in the Neighborhood of the Arts.
"I see our inexperience as a strength," Nacca says. "We're able to do things unorthodox and outside of the box."
Nacca and Lezeska recruited Joe Zolnierowski as the executive chef, and gave him free reign over creating the menus. The menu features small plates and entrees, and will change seasonally, with some staples that will remain all year.
You'll notice above certain menu items that a charity is listed, and $1 of every sale of that item will go to benefit that charity. The bellied corn dogs ($14) — which uses Bostrom Farms pork belly, cornmeal, pepper jam, avocado salsa, and adobo crema — benefits CURE Childhood Cancer Association. Sales of the boar lasagna ($23), which features braised wild boar ragu, pasta made in house, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, and herbs al forno, will benefit the Seneca Park Zoo.
A few vegetarian items are on the menu, such as the heirloom kale salad ($10), using kale, red quinoa, candied pecans, crusted First Light goat cheese, and a charred orange vinaigrette.
So far, "what most people have commented on is the service," Nacca says, referencing Nosh's General Manager Maryrose Hart, who has 25 years in the service industry. "We've got people around us that have a vision and we give them enough rein to make decisions. They're not just employees, they are partners." Bar Manager Randy Maier moved from Arizona to join the team, and was put in charge of creating Nosh's craft cocktail menu. The bar also has eight tap lines for beers that will rotate and feature local selections, including from the restaurant's neighbor, Three Heads Brewing.
Nosh will soon start serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, so stay tuned to its website for updates.
Nosh is located at 47 Russell Street, and is open for lunch Wednesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner service is Tuesday through Thursday, 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. 445-8700; noshroc.com.
The Seneca Park Zoo (2222 St. Paul Street) will host Party Mad at the Zoo on Friday, July 29, from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The 21-and-older event is a fundraiser for supporting education and conservation in Madagascar and will feature wine, beer, and chocolate tastings. Other food and beverage options will be available for purchase. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. More information at senecaparkzoo.org.
Mullers Cider House (1344 University Avenue) will host a BBQ event with Cider Creek and McCann's Local Meats on Saturday, August 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event marks the release of Cider Creek's new canned cider selections, and McCann's will be on the grill cooking Cider Can Chicken.
Amore Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar (1750 East Avenue) now has no corkage fee on Tuesday nights. Go for dinner and bring your own bottle of wine.
Starting in August, Tap and Mallet (381 Gregory Street) will join the list of non-traditional places in the area that will offer delivery service through GrubHub. They will not deliver beer, however, we already asked.
There's a lot of activity in Village Gate (274 North Goodman Street) to report: Plum House Café held its grand opening on July 22. The café features create-your-own soup, salad, and rice dishes. Soul Coffee and Jazz will open for business on August 1. The Gate House has moved into the space where Espada Brazilian Steak used to be, and the owners plan to open an Italian bistro in the old Gate House space.
Addis Ababa Ethiopian Restaurant and Cuisine is now open at 752 South Goodman Street. In addition to the restaurant, the space houses a full coffee bar.
Stoneyard American Craft Beer Hall and Grill has opened in Webster at 1517 Empire Boulevard.
Chinese restaurant I Don't Know (yeah, that was its name) has closed at 154 Genesee Street.
Veritas Wine Bar (217 Alexander Street) has closed.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.