JC Seneca (left), owner of the Armor Inn Tap Room in Hamburg, and the new Armor Inn in Ellicottville, with Mark Tufillaro, director of development.
JC Seneca (left), owner of the Armor Inn Tap Room in Hamburg, and the new Armor Inn in Ellicottville, with Mark Tufillaro, director of development.

Partnering with Wingate and Ellicott Hospitality

By Jennie Acklin

Mark Tufillaro, director of development, has been in charge of bringing the Armor Inn to Ellicottville, and is proud to see it ready to open.

“We have overcome a lot of obstacles renovating this old building, and it’s exciting to now see the finished product,” said Tufillaro.

He credits a great staff and many hardworking contractors for bringing to project to completion.

“The building was in rough shape when we started working in here this summer. Now look at it — with a stunning view of HoliMont and Ellicottville out the entire bank of windows — it’s terrific,” he said.

Kirstin Knowles, newly appointed general manager and Michelle Jacobson, bar, restaurant and catering manager, along with Troy Skowronski, executive chef, and Matt Brunner, director of food and beverage, are ready for the challenge of opening Ellicottville’s newest restaurant.

Starting Friday morning, Dec. 19 at 7 a.m., the staff will be ready to start serving breakfast to their first customers. With a menu full of delicious new items, such as breakfast quesadillas and tacos, stuffed French toast, pancakes and morning classics like eggs and omelettes.

The Armor Inn Ellicottville will be open seven days a week, year round, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, including a late-night menu and room service to the Wingate Hotel. Along with the restaurant, there will be a great bar with over 20 beers on draft and live music.

They are excited to announce its partnership with the Wingate Hotel and Ellicott Hospitality for upcoming events and promotions. Armor Inn Ellicottville will also be offering a discount to anyone with a Wingate Hotel room key. This partnership with The Wingate gives customers the best of both worlds with stay-and-dine packages.

Live music will be a big part of the Armor Inn, bringing in nationally known blues bands. This Friday night at 8 p.m., Pirate Dreams will be the first band on stage. On Saturday night at 9 p.m., Leon and the Forklifts will play to the audience.

“We want to bring the blues to Ellicottville!” owner JC Seneca said enthusiastically. “We want to bring in national acts that travel the circuit and let people see acts they’d otherwise only get to see in places like Memphis.”

Seneca, who is also in the events and entertainment business, hopes to take the events and entertainment segment of Ellicottville to a new level.

Seneca was on location this past week for the final touches, including a visit from artist Carson Waterman for some last-minute consultation for hanging his artwork. Several of Waterman’s fine art prints hang throughout the restaurant, paying homage to the restaurant’s Native American roots.

“I really want the restaurant to succeed — that’s exciting to me,” said executive chef Tony Skowronski. “It has been a challenge bringing the kitchen from the ground up, but it’s all worth getting to oversee a brand new kitchen facility.”

Skowronski has added many new menu items and has put his personal touch on many old favorites.

“For example, our pizza log appetizer will be served with a roasted red pepper and bacon coolie instead of the standard marinara,” said Skowronski. “I’ve also added a French-cut pork chop with a blueberry compote, and pan-seared duck with a strawberry glaze.”

Tonya Brown Earhardt was part of his handpicked staff, and will be joining him as his second-hand assistant.

“I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for 25 years locally,” said Jacobson, who will be handling all banquets and events, along with off-site catering and the new room service at the Wingate Hotel. “Bringing room service to The Wingate will bring an entirely new dynamic to what we both can offer guests. We look forward to the joint partnership.”

General manager Kirstin Knowles brings over 22 years of restaurant experience with her.

“I love the Ellicottville area and look forward to welcoming guests to the Armor Inn Ellicottville,” she said. “We have a great lineup of live music scheduled throughout the winter season already, starting with Pirate Dreams Friday night. Families are encouraged to dine with us, and with music not starting until 9 p.m., that gives everyone plenty of time to enjoy a relaxing dinner before the music starts.”

The Armor Inn is located on Mill Street, directly across the street from the Wingate Hotel, in the Kwik Fill building complex. For more information visit www.armorinn.com or their Facebook page at Armor Inn Ellicottville.