Article via dine365.com
Although the name, Brioso, is Spanish, the restaurant brands itself as Contemporary American cuisine with a Southwestern flair, featuring recognizable and market-driven foods with a tasty twist. Brioso is located inside the Wyndham Garden Hotel which sits at the corner of Main Street and South Forest in the Village of Williamsville. The “hotel restaurant” label turns out to be both a pro and a con for Brioso. Buffalo has a vast restaurant scene in which trendy locations are discussed almost as much as the food. With the exception of E.B. Greens, it’s hard to think of a notable hotel-based restaurant within the local scene. Most assume these restaurants are part of the hotel chain and expect a quality that is not up to Western New York’s dining standards. However, it’s exciting flavors, keen attention to detail, and well-known sister company are what sets Brioso apart from its hotel-restaurant peers.
Much effort was put into researching what Western New Yorkers enjoys while dining. After all, hotel guests come and go but the success of the restaurant will be based on a local following and Brioso plans to deliver. The food is high-quality, fresh, and is outsourced from local farms. Brioso’s culinary team carefully prepares your meal especially for you, creating presentations that are unique and turn a common dish into something special. To top it all off, fresh baked desserts are delivered daily from Butterwood Bakery, Brioso’s sister company.
When you first step into the restaurant, you’ll notice a large case of beautiful Butterwood desserts. There, adorning the entrance, are slices of pie, cupcakes and cookies available for individual sale or as the sweet finale of your dining experience. Inevitably, you’ll then notice how large the restaurant is, exaggerated by an influx of natural light provided by the wall of windows that face the Village of Williamsville’s Main Street. When the weather cooperates, a large urban patio tempts you with fresh air dining and suburban people watching. In the rear of the restaurant is a private dining room where groups can gather and watch presentations on state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment before enjoying a meal or a break, making Brioso an ideal destination for corporate catered events or private parties. Once seated, you’ll start to take a closer look at the details of the restaurant and you’ll notice the décor is stunning. “It’s a contemporary masterpiece in here,” says Jerry McCarthy, general manager. The granite-topped bar literally glistens from the reflection of the wine room behind tiers of liquor bottles. Eight draught beers are always on tap and specialty margaritas are decorated with a unique chili lime salt. Bar goers can watch all the news and local sporting events on a huge flat screen TV. The restaurant floor is made of large slate tiles that add a rustic feel to this modern room. Each table is covered with an authentic copper table top that was hammered in Mexico and almost delayed the opening of the restaurant when they were held up at customs, Brandon Sterner, Restaurant Manager and Special Events Coordinator, tells me.
As mentioned, Butterwood Bakery is Brioso’s sister company and both are owned and operated by Claire Bacon. Bacon, a graduate of Amherst High School, moved to St. Louis where she graduated from Washington University and lived for 10 years. Like many ex-patriots who leave Western New York, Bacon wanted to move home and found the perfect opportunity. She bought and opened Butterwood Bakery and grew the business to make the name synonymous with decadent wedding cakes and upscale desserts. McCarthy explains, “Claire has as much knowledge of food as the most successful chefs in our community.” Taking the next step, Bacon opened both Sweet & Savory and Brioso, and became a successful restaurateur. Despite the owner being the common denominator of these three establishments, each is operated independent of the others, and Brioso runs smoothly with McCarthy and Sterner at the helm. The pair shares an overwhelming passion for the restaurant and their staff.
McCarthy’s resume is extensive and reads like a who’s who of Buffalo restaurants over the past fifteen years, including well-known names like Mike A’s, Buffalo Chophouse, Harry’s Harbor Place and The Stillwater. Sterner is described by McCarthy as “a rising star” on the local restaurant scene. He recently received his Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Niagara University. Both take on a somewhat unique challenge faced by Brioso and that’s the length of time it’s open throughout the day. Being devoted to the Wyndham clientele, breakfast is served at 6:30 am, lunch at 11:30, and dinner starts at 4:30 ending at 10:00 on weekdays and 11:00 on weekends. The bar is open until the last patron is gone- often late for business travelers. This is not just a 5pm – 10pm dinner operation! “Although the demands of running a restaurant that serves three meal periods seven days a week would normally be overwhelming, the professional staff that surrounds us makes it manageable,” Brandon says with a proud smile. Great lengths have been taken to hire and train a staff that is held to highest standards of hospitality. In fact, the exceptional level of service diners receive is a consistent theme mentioned in reviews written about Brioso.
Brioso has been evolving to serve the local community, since opening in 2013, due much to the efforts of McCarthy and Sterner. They did extensive research into finding what Western New Yorkers, especially Williamsville residents, are looking for when dining out. This is evident in the changes made to the menu that once featured South American cuisine but now takes on American favorites and adds the Southwestern flair without overwhelming the foods diners love. The new and improved menu includes such items as New York strip steak, filet mignon, wild-caught salmon and traditional American comfort foods such as steak sandwiches, cheddar burgers and meatloaf sandwiches. The management pair also revised the look and language of the menu to make it more accessible and comfortable to diners. Some favorites include a Caesar Salad with lime, shaved parmesan, warm polenta croutons, romaine, Caesar dressing ($9); Small Plates like Coliflor Frito: fried cauliflower, pistachios, chipotle-honey glaze ($10), and Diver Scallops: cast iron pan seared, sweet corn puree, arugula polenta, chive oil drizzle ($14); Large Plates (entrees) like California Pasta Casino featuring linguini pasta tossed with cilantro and clams in a light lime cream, garnished with chorizo sausage stuffed with middle neck clams ($27), Short Ribs that are beer braised with roasted tomato and corn hash, and sweet pepper slaw ($25). For lunch you could try the quintessential contemporary American/Southwestern flair sandwich, the Meatloaf Sandwich made from veal, pork and beef with green chilies, sweet barbeque glaze, arugula and crispy onion straws on sourdough bread with fresh cut fries ($12), or Quesadilla: Choice of beef, chicken or pork, queso pepper jack, sweet pepper slaw, chipotle honey dressing ($13). What about breakfast? You can order breakfast staples like eggs, toast, pancakes and omelets or try the hearty Steak & Eggs: grilled strip steak, two eggs, chipotle brown sugar bacon hash, toast and fresh fruit ($16). Specialty cocktails, the wine list, and a bar menu are viewable on the Brioso website.
So what can a diner expect from Brioso? A modern restaurant that specializes in contemporary American cuisine with a Southwestern flair, a passionate owner and experienced management team who lead an exceptional staff in the beautiful Wyndham Garden Hotel. Don’t forget about the covered parking behind the hotel, more evidence that Brioso plans to stay one step ahead to further perfect your dining experience!
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