Niagara Gazette

June 3, 2013

Pizza Bistro expands offerings on Third Street

By Michele DeLuca michele.deluca@niagara-gazette.com
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Success doesn’t come easy on Third Street. 

So, owners of the award winning Wine on Third are celebrating the upscale restaurant’s 6th anniversary there with music, art — and the opening of a second restaurant just a few doors down.

The new restaurant, The Pizza Bistro, has been opened in the space where Caffe Lola’s had been, in a spot connected to the wine bar through a back hallway.  

“We saw the Pizza Bistro as a way of creating a slightly different identity than the Wine Bar,” said David Guisiana , co-owner of Wine on Third along with Shawn Weber and his wife, Bernadette Brennan.

The owners of the two businesses are feeling more positive than ever about the street’s potential. “It seems like there’s more activity,” said Weber. “There definitely some good quality investors looking in the area. In the last six months, some of the vacant property owners have adjusted to more realistic prices for their property.”

“It would seem like the winds are changing on Third Street,” Guisiana added, noting the re-opening of Cafe Etc., the new leadership at the Ice House by former Lewiston restaurant owner, Jim Lewis. “Then, you always have to talk about the guys who haven’t wavered, like Donatello’s.”

Both Guisiana and Weber noted both their families have long ties to the city. Guisiana’s grandfather had property investments in the city, and his father was a local real estate agent on Third Street. Weber’s grandfather’s grandfather, August Weber, was a beer distributor, and the Webers also had an oil company and other local investments, including Shawn’s current co-ownership of the Jefferson Apartments on Third. 

Since the wine bar opened it has been drawing attention for its upscale food and wine offerings. In 2010 the restaurant was recognized in a “Top 30” national list by Wine Enthusiast Magazine for its unique selections of wine. In addition, it’s regular exhibition of local artists’ work has led to some crowded and enthusiastic receptions, including a recent show of wearable art, which packed the wine bar, according to Brooke D’Angelo, who handles publicity for both restaurants.

To celebrate the sixth anniversary, the restaurant will be presenting live music on Wednesday and Saturdays through June, including a wine tasting dinner on June 10 led by Youngstown artisan farmer, Tom Tower. There will be a Niagara Falls Music and Art Festival poster signing on Saturday and artists will be painting works of art outside the restaurant on June 15 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. 

In addition, the Pizza Bistro  will hold its grand opening on June 12. The bistro will have more of a family atmosphere than Wine on Third, and will be offering pizza and pastas at lower prices than the more upscale menu at the wine bar. The bistro will also offer family nights, with special deals for families on Monday and caricaturist Guy Posey doing portraits on June 17 and June 24. Tuesdays will be date night at the bistro and special deals will be offered to couples who want an affordable night out, D’Angelo said. The menu includes traditional Italian favorites and scratch-made brick oven pizzas.

Michael Kraus, former owner of Lola’s is chef of the new Pizza Bistro and is pleased by the new relationship with the wine bar owners.

“For me, personally, having what feels like an army around me now is so satisfying.”

The new menu, which includes Italian foods such as meatball sliders, and rigatoni and meatballs, also offers scratch made brick oven pizzas, paninis and salads. Customers have been providing positive feedback during the soft opening of the bistro, Kraus said. “The reception to the new menu has been warmly received,” he added. “That’s humbling and it puts a smile on my face.”