By Deb Everts

A new restaurant has opened in the heart of Ellicottville. The West Rose, at 23 Washington St., held its grand opening celebration Thursday, Dec. 5, after press time.

Executive Chef Brad Rowell and his wife, Caryn, co-own the new establishment along with a longtime friend, Anthony Petrilli, who is the chef at West Rose. 

Brad Rowell said The Grange Community Kitchen, in Hamburg, was their first restaurant and he will be splitting his time between the two restaurants and cooking at both places. 

“We opened the Grange about three-and-a-half years ago in 2016,” he said. “Prior to that, I was the chef at the Elm Street Bakery, also in Hamburg. Caryn was the general manager there, but we met long before that because we are both from Hamburg.”

Rowell said they had been looking at different options for a second restaurant and had several reasons for choosing this location in Ellicottville.

One is he grew up in Hamburg and is familiar with Ellicottville because he has been coming to the resort town for skiing and other events his whole life. Another reason was it’s close proximity to Hamburg where he and his wife, Caryn, currently reside.

“I really love the community and I wanted to be more a part of Ellicottville, so I came down here, found this location and really fell in love with it,” he said. “We decided that the building, the location and the town would be a good fit for us.” 

The couple has a four-year-old daughter, Louise Rose, the namesake of the restaurant, West Rose.

Rowell said, like their other restaurant, the West Rose will serve simple, seasonal food highlighting local produce and responsibly raised meat. Their smoked brisket with house-made hummus won the award for “Best Entrée” at this year’s Taste of Ellicottville food festival juried competition.

“We’ll have a menu with the same philosophy of cooking seasonally and taking what’s available throughout the year with local produce and meat,” he said. “I think the dishes on the menu will be affordable and a good value.”

Rowell said the menu could include items like a Margarita Pizza that costs $13 or a Squash Salad for $8, so it’s a pretty good value and it’s the same at the Grange.

“We try to make the menu and the drink menu affordable to a broad audience,” he said. “There are some more affordable things like you’ll be able to get a beer for $4 or $5, but we’ll also have things that are kind of geared toward someone who wants to spend a little more money, like expensive whiskeys and wines by the bottle.”

According to Rowell, he and Caryn are managing both places together. Petrilli is at the West Rose full-time running the kitchen, and there is a director of operations working at both restaurants. They also have a floor manager and a bar manager at the new restaurant. 

Before it became a restaurant, the space underwent extensive renovations. Much of the interior is simple and white that gives it a crisp, clean look with a Southwest/Tuscany Mediterranean feel. A white, wood-fired oven is a focal point downstairs, and a balcony has been added off the second floor to create more dining space.

“Caryn is the designer, decorator and visionary. She designed both restaurants and worked closely with the key people and contractors,” he said. “She’s also the behind-the-scenes person who takes care of the human resources and managing part of the business, while Anthony and I are behind the food.”

There are a lot of different people who are focused just on West Rose. According to Rowell, they have an experienced team at both places with about 42 employees at the West Rose alone.

The West Rose will serve dinners Thursday through Sunday nights from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Weekend brunches will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Rowell trained at the French Culinary Institute, in New York City, now called the International Culinary Center. He has about 20 years of experience in the food industry and has been an executive chef for about six years. 

While in New York, he worked at a number of restaurants before moving out west to Colorado for six years where he worked in restaurants in Boulder and Denver. He moved back to Western New York and has worked in several local restaurants.