By Jann Wiswall

More than a few Ellicottville residents are probably suffering some pretty strong cravings for a pesto pizza from Tips Up Café, so they’ll be thrilled to know that the restaurant is reopening for dinner and carry out on Friday, May 10.

Tips Up has been closed for renovations for a couple of weeks now, but that’s not all that owners Judy and Ken Roush are ready to announce.

The biggest news is that Ken is planning a gradual retirement and is turning over his job to their son Anton. Anton, an Ellicottville Central School graduate who has a business management degree from West Virginia University, will be involved in both front- and back-of-house operations. Over the course of the next year or so, Ken (as well as Judy, who is not retiring) will be teaching Anton everything he knows, but Anton will be adding a fresh perspective from his several years of working in restaurants in northern California.

“We’ll be making some subtle changes to the menu in response to customer demand,” said Judy and Ken, who will be adding some gluten-free entrees, more grains and lighter options to the existing popular menu. “Plus, we’ll be bringing in more seafood options,” added Judy, who expects these selections to be introduced over the course of the summer.

Along with Anton, chef responsibilities will be shared by Gene Lathrop, who has been with the restaurant for 26 years, and the newest addition, Jack Atkinson (formerly with the Silver Fox), who started just this week. Rest assured, said Judy, all will be trained in the art of making the signature sauces, soups and salad dressings for which Tips Up is known.

The entire team has been involved in the renovation process, which is focused on the kitchen and the first floor dining area.

“The kitchen has some new equipment and we’ve rearranged much of the prep space,” said Judy. “The new layout will be much more efficient for the kitchen staff.”

The main dining space has gotten the most attention. A knee wall dividing the dining and bar areas was removed to allow for a more comfortable configuration of tables. The booths along the far wall have been redone and new lighting is being installed. There’s fresh paint, new flooring, additional booths, and many other improvements to give the space a fresher, livelier feel.

While not everything in the main dining area will be completed by Friday due to some unexpected delays, “we’re happy to be back up and running, especially with Anton on board,” said Judy.

Ken added, “I’m excited that the family legacy is continuing.”

Tips Up Café is open for dinner Sunday–Thursday from 4–10 p.m. and Friday–Saturday from 4–11 p.m. For information, visit or call (716) 699-2136.

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