Ask Vianiliz Vee Echevarria Rivera what surprised her most about opening her own culinary business, and her answer is not about the long hours, tough customers or hard work.
It’s much more humble.
“Not expecting to be sold out four days in a row,” she said Monday after her debut opening week of Linda Borinqueña. “We were giving out little samples, and people were falling in love with our food. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We’re taking it day by day.”
The Puerto Rican takeout restaurant had some delays due to typical project snags and is now fully up and running, with a five-day weekly schedule.
She’s hopeful about offering hours that go until 7 p.m., and that she, her mom Elizabeth and brother Adrian are working diligently to prep enough food to last them each of Tuesday through Saturday for local patrons’ obvious appetites.
Her take-out restaurant, under the roof of The Crapshoot Kitchen & Commissary, owned by Rob Credi, will begin with white rice, two types of yellow rice, roasted pork and roasted chicken, empanadas, beans and a dessert of vanilla flan, an egg custard with a caramel glaze.
“A lot of people were not expecting it to be such a flavorful food,” she said. “Everybody’s liking everything. We want to make sure that what we have is something they enjoy. We’re making the flan every morning, so it’s very fresh.”
She took two weeks off from her regular job to make sure the restaurant took off smoothly and plans to work in the early morning and after work once she returns, she said.
Her mom enjoys the challenge so far, though “you go through so many emotions,” Vee said.
“She’s trying to make it as fast as she can,” Vee said. “I feel we’re giving good portions too. This is our first week, so we’ll see where it leads.”
Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. To view the menu and order, go HERE or call (716) 220-2880.
Entrepreneur and cooking enthusiast Rob Credi got involved in the ramen business as a hobby with his wife Karie, as they would each create different varieties of ramen for dinner.
And then the prospect of The Crapshoot Kitchen & Commissary came to life, and Credi began to envision some space for his very own culinary dream come true, he said.
And Xavmen Ramen was born.
“It's kind of like a fun concept that's new for Batavia. And it's not traditional ramen, which might scare people. It's more Americanized, like Thai with peanuts is probably going to be the more traditional one. The other ones are mimicked after, like a Big Mac. We have a garbage plate style, one of my favorites of these is the everything bagel. It's incredible,” he said. There’s the Tabouleh, a Middle Eastern salad. And a play off of Buffalo chicken, oh, fun things that people are familiar with around here.”
The Thai ramen has a Thai peanut sauce that “packs a little heat” and is garnished with chopped peanuts and green onion, whereas the tabouleh is a parsley salad of lemon juice, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, diced tomatoes, and green onion served cold.
There’s a Buffalo ramen with a buttery hot sauce with baked chicken, crumbly blue cheese and diced celery, and several other versions to choose from.
The storage-turned-culinary space has taken quite a turn since, as Credi puts it: “it wasn’t retail friendly. It wasn’t really human-friendly, to say the least.”
“So just to get everything cleaned up and kosher with the health department in the city, you know, codes and all that was an undertaking, so I think we started just over a year ago this March of 2022,” he said. “The process, obviously, took much longer than I thought it would take to do, but we've reached it here and so far so good. They've been doing great. Linda Borinqueña has been doing great, they sold out the past two nights since they opened. Windy Brew is cranking now that they have their full menu and they use our kitchen. Of course, they are all doing good things. Hopefully, people appreciate it.
"We all think it's a great idea," he said. "It's just a matter of, you know, will the general public agree with our vision.”
Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
To view the menu or place an order, go to https://www.xavmen.com
Windy Brew opened its second location — it's first in Batavia — in August and has now added several varieties of pizza to its menu, such as a supremely loaded with cheese, pepperoni, bacon, onion, peppers and black olives.
Patrons may order whole pizzas to go or to eat on-site. They also offer quesadillas, nachos, pretzels and other appetizers, plus many craft beers.
Hours are 2 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
For more information, go to https://windybrews.com