Tonawanda News — After years at some of the more prominent restaurants in the area, chef Michael Attardo is now cooking out of a kitchen of a different sort:
One with wheels.
Attardo, who with his wife, Melanie Kushner-Attardo, owns The Great Foodini food truck, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. After receiving his associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from the CIA, he worked at resorts in Vermont about 10 years before he moved back to Western New York. Here, he worked at the Seneca Niagara Casino and served as head chef at the Red Coach Inn for five years, during which time he was honored by members of the gastronomic society the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs for a meal he designed and executed at the restaurant.
With his newest venture, the facilities may be smaller ... but the payoff is freedom.
Attardo said he started the food truck, “to be out on my own, to do different things, seeing different people every day. Creating new menus every day. Our menu changes every week; it’s not the same menu all the time.”
The Ransomville resident, who is from Lewiston originally, started out serving meals out of the truck at festivals, including the Lewiston Peach Festival and the Niagara Falls Blues Festival, last summer. This year, he wanted to begin serving late Fridays and Saturday on Lewiston’s Center Street, but was turned down by the Lewiston Village Board (which cited opposition to food trucks by local business owners) in early February.
“All the food trucks right now are in Buffalo,” Attardo said. “Nobody’s really venturing out this way. Being a local resident, I wanted to start in Lewiston ... We were turned down.”
So, Attardo turned his sights to other locations in the region — advertising (jokingly, via Twitter) “Food so good, it’s banned from Lewiston.”