When a door closes, another one opens. It's a common saying, and has many different iterations, but the idea is the same: a chapter in your life comes to a close, whether it's a job or a relationship, and it paves the way for something new. This was the case for Xavier Borges, the co-owner of El Flamboyan Café (35 Chestnut Street). Borges was passed over for a promotion at a previous job, but saw it as an opportunity to realize his mother's dream of having a restaurant and opened El Flamboyan with his father, Samuel.
Borges' mother is from Naguabo, Puerto Rico, and the menu is comprised of many of her recipes, which are cooked by head chef, Arery Cruz. The menu is also influenced by Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Mofongo ($12-$15) is a Puerto Rican dish consisting of mashed plantains, garlic, and spices and served with meat or seafood. The shrimp salad mofongo ($15) is one of the café's key dishes. Also on the menu are Alcapurrias ($2.75): ground beef and spices, wrapped in masa (dough), and deep fried. The plantain canoe ($5) is just what it sounds like, a plantain that has been scooped out and filled with ground beef and peppers and onions (like an island version of a loaded baked potato).
The Flambo burger ($12) is stuffed with onions, peppers, and cheese and served in "criollo" bread — which El Flamboyan purchases from a local bakery. "Criollo" bread is typically used to make a Cuban sandwich (also on the menu for $9.50), with a nice crust on the outside and chewy on the inside.
Borges says he is excited to be "smack dab in the middle of downtown," and to be a part of the area's revitalization. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner six days a week.
El Flamboyan Café is located at 35 Chestnut Street, and is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 633-0923. Visit its Facebook page at facebook.com/elcafeflamboyan for more information.
Jim's Restaurant (233 North Winton Road) closed its doors on May 16. The Winton Road institution will be torn down, along with a few other surrounding buildings, to make room for an Aldi's supermarket. Jim's Too (785 East Main Street) is currently closed due to damage from a fire but the owner plans to re-open by early summer. Look for updates on jimsbreakfastlunch.com.
Devour Rochester Wine & Culinary Classic will take place on Saturday, May 30, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Memorial Art Gallery (500 university Avenue). The event features tastings from local wineries, breweries, distilleries, and eateries. Advanced tickets are $25 and can be purchased at devourrochester.com.
Sticky Lips BBQ's owner, Howard Nielsen, has won a Silver Spoon Award from The New York State Restaurant Association. The award honors restaurateurs who were not "born with a silver spoon, but earned the admiration and respect of his or her peers through hard work and dedication to the industry and community."
We've all heard of wine and cheese pairings, but wine and burlesque? Damiani Wine Cellars (4704 Route 414) on Seneca Lake will host a Whiskey Tango Cabaret Night on Saturday, May 23, at 7 p.m. featuring the Whiskey Tango Sideshow, a collective of burlesque dancers, acrobats, singers and musicians. Tickets are $22 (21 and over only) and can be purchased at eventbrite.com/e/whiskey-tango-cabaret-night-tickets-16802698323.
Café Sasso (739 Park Avenue) has opened in the space formerly occupied by Boulder Coffee Co. The café will still serve Boulder coffee as well as craft cocktails. Visit its Facebook page, facebook.com/cafesassorochester for more information.
Pi Craft Pizza (100 Market Place Drive) has opened in Henrietta.
R's Market (2294 Monroe Avenue) has re-opened under new ownership.
Something Delicious, a bakery, has opened at 1441 South Avenue.
Crossroads Coffeehouse (752 South Goodman Street) has closed.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of restaurateur.