Niagara Gazette

November 20, 2012

New supper club opens today on 19th Street

By Michele DeLuca
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — A new restaurant and entertainment venue called The Topper Social Club will open for business at 4 p.m. today, featuring fine dining and live entertainment for those who nostalgically recall the supper club era.

The renovated club is the home of a former well-known nightclub of the same name, which opened in the 1930s and closed in the mid 90s.

Owner Carl DeFranco said the new club, located at 19th Street and Ferry Avenue, will eventually be a private, members-only social club, but the doors are being thrown open to the public until the membership roster is filled.

Meantime, the club's offerings are designed to show the place off, including special dinners with transportation to the Buffalo Philharmonic concerts, Saturday evening "Underground Supper Clubs," featuring a four-course meal paired with wines and craft beers, along with music to match the menu. There will also be Saturday night dinner dances.

"We've created a nightclub in the old tradition. You take three steps in the door and you're going to be amazed," said DeFranco, whose family has owned businesses in the 19th street area since the 1920s, including DeFranco Hardware, DeFranco Glass and DeFranco Real Estate.

The club's manager is Jonathon Boas, former co-owner with his wife, Cathy, of The Little Yellow Chocolate House in Lewiston. Boas has been corporate general manager and executive chef for the Houlihan's Restaurant franchise locations in Atlanta. He also has a master bartender certification.

"No one has seen anything like what we're offering," Boas said of the club, noting that the bar will have 16 rotating craft beers as well as a wide selection of fine wines.

The completely renovated club will also feature live music from Wednesday through Saturday, and an upscale menu created by head chef Kevin Robertson, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of American who was also head chef at Wine on Third.

Tonight's band, Reflector, starts at 7 p.m. The club will be closed for Thanksgiving but will reopen Friday with the Dave Thurman Band performing at 7 p.m. The "Underground Supper Club," with piano bar, will be debuted on Saturday.

The club's concept was created around DeFranco's desire for a night out with his wife, where they could have a nice dinner and listen to music. "There was no place locally where we could have a good quality meal and good entertainment too," he said, "It just didn't exist. But, now it does."

DeFranco said the demographic is the forty-and-over crowd, who like steaks, fine wines, craft beers and music. By way of example, he noted that the soft opening on Monday offered free hors d'ouvres including duck breast quesadillas and tempora shrimp with homemade sauces.

The Topper Social Club will eventually be members-only, he noted, with about 250 members an an annual dues of $150. "There's a bundle of advantages to being a member," he said, noting the Philharmonic events and special seating for members at any of the upcoming shows.

"We are open to the public, as well, right now because we're recruiting club members," he explained. "We have to show people what they're going to get. The response has been amazing."

For more information about The Topper Social Club, located at 492 19th St., call 877-652-3813 or visit online at

Contact Features Editor Michele DeLuca at 282-2311, ext. 2263.