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February 25, 2013

RESTAURANT: The flavors to Savor

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It was clear to me then that this school was something special. Then, a few weeks later, I noticed that the restaurant had opened. 

The very next night my husband and I stopped in to have a glass of wine and some appetizers at the bar.

My husband ordered the duck — a dinner actually — and it was served perfectly in delicate slices, on a bed of tiny black lentils. I had the blue point oysters Rockefeller and they were elegantly perched on a bed of sea salt.  The red wine, vibrant and rich, was served in polished globes, and as good as I had hoped.

We enjoyed talking to the two friendly bartenders, both who told us of their extensive experience in other restaurants, including one of them at the Buffalo Country Club.

Then, we talked with the assistant manager, Nicolas Seveno, a sommelier and native of France, who started making wine as a boy at his grandfather’s side, later landed an impressive position in the Berkshires and who now presides over Savor’s extensive wine list. 

It was a happy night for me. I had been waiting a long time for the Culinary Institute to open its doors and bring much-needed excitement to downtown Niagara Falls. 

I went back to Savor as soon as I could, to talk with some of the customers and the staff.  

On a recent weekday, veteran Gazette photographer Jim Neiss and I found the place bustling at lunch time.

 “The locals have been hugely supportive,” NCCC’s Mark Mistriner, the school’s business and hospitality chairman, told me that day.

The restaurant is run by a veteran staff, including Niagara Falls native Dana DeFazio, its manager, who trained at Disney, and whose family owned DeFazio’s Stadium Grill for 50 years.

Each day DeFazio leads the handful of students who are interspersed among seasoned veterans including head chef Calvin College, last employed at the Brookfield Country Club. 

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