by Joseph H. RADDER
|Michael Militello and Vincent Carriere.|
While Vincent Carriere does not share ownership in the Bijou Grille, he is
so close to the Militello family, it wouldn't be appropriate not to include the Bijou in
The Bijou Grille, at 643 Main Street in the heart of the Theater District, is owned and operated by the Militello family, Michael, of Mulligan's fame, Beatrice, who worked with Michael at Mulligan's on Hertel Avenue, and Bobby, former owner of the Tralf and a famous musician who plays with Dave Brubeck . The Militellos purchased the Bijou in 1991, about five years after its opening. The Theater District was just coming into its own at that time, and the Bijou location, right across the street from Shea's and hard by the Market Arcade, Irish Classical, and Studio Arena Theaters, is ideally-situated for theater goers.
When big shows are playing downtown, the Bijou opens up its club level (upstairs) banquet room to the public, where the same menu is served. "While the Bijou is a casual atmosphere, our club level is a bit more elegant," Bea Militello said. "Looking at Shea's across the street from our club level is a fabulous view. Seeing the marquee and huge sign all lit up, and the beautiful restored frieze on the front of the building are a thrill to see," Bea enthused.
When we asked Michael Militello to comment, he couldn't say enough about the Bijou Grille's broad appeal. "The broad demographic and geographic range of our clientele gives us the chance to stay in touch with a broad base of customers," he said. "No matter what their age or whether they come from Rochester, Batavia, or Buffalo's suburbs, the Bijou Grille's customers have one thing in common, their love of the theater."
The Bijou Grille features California cuisine. That means a variety of salads featuring sea foods, chicken and fruits, and entrees like the Bijou's salmon fillet baked with horseradish crust served over crispy spinach. Pasta features include the Bijou lobster sautee, a lobster tail, shrimp, and sea scallops tossed with lemon, parsley, tomatoes and mushrooms, finished with a lobster sauce and served on linguini.
When lunch and dinner menus are combined, there are eight creative appetizers, nine California-inspired salads, five pizzas, nine great sandwiches, and fifteen meat, poultry, seafood, and pasta entrees.
During the warm weather months when theaters are dark more often than not, the Bijou Grille's patio is very popular for both lunch and dinner.
Convenient parking is available in nearby lots, and, of course Metro Rail stops almost at the Bijou Grille's front door.
Many customers at the Bijou Grille have followed the Militello family from Mulligan's Museum of Fine Arts Café on Hertel Avenue, the "in" place to go in the '70s and '80s. Some even date back to Mulligan's Brick Bar on Allen Street and Mulligan's Sunset Bay Beach Club on the Lake Erie shore.
Joseph H. Radder is a freelance writer.
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