By Deb Everts

After nearly half a century of serving the public fine food – and after a year’s hiatus – local eatery The Birdwalk restaurant has opened its doors again.

The popular dining establishment reopened for the dinner crowd on Dec. 20.

The interior hasn’t changed much and still has the same unique rustic atmosphere with antiques on display. Patrons will see pretty much the same familiar faces who have given them top-notch service and great food for over 48 years.

Owner Laurie Barrett is hostess and her daughter, Jessica Caputi, is managing the restaurant.

Caputi’s son, Cameron, heads the kitchen staff as chef, and her daughter, Alex, operates the wood-fired brick pizza oven. Barrett’s son, Wade, is still a large part of the family business.

“It’s all the people that our regular diners are used to seeing,” she said. “We have Liz Tucker, our waitress, who has been with us for seven or eight years. ‘Bill the Bartender,’ who is kind of famous around here, will be here on Sundays tending bar.”

According to Caputi, they have downsized the menu a little bit, but they’re still offering their delicious pizzas and the favorite made-to-order fresh entrées. They’ll have new specials every week, along with fresh seafood and steaks which they cut ourselves.

They also have a full bar including beer and wine. She said everything they serve is fresh. They make their own pizza dough every day with all fresh ingredients topping the pizzas.

“We have a wood-fired brick oven that came from Italy and we are the only ones around here that has one,” she said. “It’s kind of nice because it gives you a little bit of smokiness to your pizza.”

Established in June 1970 along Route 242 a short ride east of Ellicottville, Barrett’s late husband, Bill, named the restaurant after a popular country song called “The Tennessee Birdwalk.”

After his passing in May 2017, the restaurant stayed open until September of last year, but the family decided to shut-down operations and make it a tearoom and antique store that was open on weekends.

“We [the family] decided to open again as a restaurant because we missed everybody and my mom is bored with retirement,” Caputi said. “Our hearts are here. This is our home.”

The Birdwalk is open Thursday and Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m.

The restaurant will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and holiday hours will continue until Jan. 6 for Christmas Break. Then regular business hours will resume Thursday through Sunday.

Reservations are always welcome and encouraged, but not required. Call 699-2749.

Find the menu, weekly specials and updates posted on Facebook/Birdwalk.