By Deb Everts
A new eatery bringing multi-cultural cuisine to Ellicottville has opened in the village. Rafi’s Platter by Amber is located in the space once occupied by the former Tips Up Café at 32 Washington St.
Co-owners Amber Rafi-Sultan and her husband, Aamir Sultan, along with their staff are excited to open a second location in Ellicottville. Rafi-Sultan said they decided to open a second restaurant and chose Ellicottville for the location back in early November. They were just waiting to find the right business space.
“I hope to create a fun, multicultural atmosphere to give people more cultural exposure. People come to Ellicottville from all over, so a multicultural atmosphere is what’s missing here (Ellicottville),” she said. “I’m very honored to bring that experience to this town and be part of this beautiful community.”
It’s primarily a Mediterranean-style restaurant, but the menu features a wide selection of dishes from different cultural cuisines. Diners will have not only Pakistani, Italian, Greek and Lebanese food choices but also American favorites including fried calamari, kabobs, Lobster Mac and Cheese, grilled salmon and linguini and meatballs. The menu will also include gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan choices.
“Lobster Mac and Cheese is very popular, and our famous lamb shanks are Moroccan or curried-style lamb shanks,” said. “I prepare them in a variety of different ways.”
She said they will use fresh ingredients and have fresh produce delivered every day. Everything will be made in-house including sauces, which will be available for purchase onsite. Rafi-Sultan said they have a famous Z-sauce, which is cucumber and sour cream, based with Greek yogurt and Greek sauce. She said it’s very popular with people who prefer a mild sauce.
“I want to get the message across to people that we don’t serve just hot, spicy foods,” she said. “We have flavorful food, which is not necessarily spicy food.”
There are dining rooms upstairs and downstairs and full bars on both floors providing space for banquets and private parties. Rafi-Sultan said the private dining room on the second floor will accommodate 40 to 50 people. They will also offer off-site catering and food deliveries.
The downstairs bar will have a selection of craft beers and some fine wines. She wants the upstairs bar to be more like a scotch, bourbon and wine bar.
“We’re really excited to cater to everybody who comes to Ellicottville, whether they are visitors from Canada and other distant places or locals, or skiers at Holiday Valley and HoliMont,” she said. “We’re here to accommodate everybody and invite them to try our food and atmosphere.”
Rafi-Sultan said they are still hiring, but they are currently looking for more experienced people for the kitchen and for the front of the house.
The restaurant held soft opening for dinner hours last week, but once they get up and running, and the staff trained, the restaurant will be open seven days a week with regular business hours 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Weekend patrons will be able to enjoy the bars on both floors later on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Olean became Rafi-Sultan’s hometown after she and her siblings moved from their native Pakistan to the city to be with their father in 1996. She said the restaurant business is in her blood because, as teenagers and young adults, she and her brothers worked under their father, Mian Rafi, upon moving to the United States. Her family ran Kabob’s Restaurant on Monroe for many years.
“I’m very passionate about cooking. I grew up in the restaurant business and I was a young teenager when I started cooking,” she said.
Rafi-Sultan continues to carry on her family’s tradition. Her father owned Mian Rafi’s International Cuisine on North Barry Street, in Olean, and her brothers currently operate local establishments Brother’s Bistro and Mirchi Bar-N-Grill, also in Olean.
Sultan is also a native of Pakistan. The couple has made their home in Olean and they have two children together. Rafi-Sultan also has two teenage children from a previous marriage.
The couple also owns and operates Rafi’s Platter in Olean. Rafi-Sultan said their Olean location will be temporarily closed until mid-March, so she can put all her focus into the second location in Ellicottville. She and Sultan will be going back and forth dividing their time between the two restaurant locations.
For more information, to place a take-out order, or to make arrangements for a private party, call (716) 699-1018.