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Golf Dedication: Using glow-in-the-dark balls during total solar eclipse at Terry Hills

By Howard B. Owens
Remote video URL

If you were in Genesee County on Monday were teed off that you didn't get to actually see the total eclipse that passed over the region, at Terry Hills, they were really teed off.

In the midst of the darkest minute, golfers hit glow-in-the-dark balls of the first tee, apparently just to say they played golf during a total eclipse of the sun.

Terry Hills Golf Course hosted an eclipse party, including a special menu with food items such as Total Eclipse Burger, Blackout Caesar Salad, and Supernova Nachoes.

Golfers also received a commemorative "I Saw the Eclipse at Terry Hills April 8th 2024" golf ball.

Danielle Rotondo said about 150 golfers hit the links on Monday, with about sixty playing during the eclipse.  The three people teeing off from the first tee during the totality were Mary Brown, Casey Brown, and Rotondo.

"It was a great day, an amazing experience playing and teeing off during totality," Rotondo said. "My aunt, Mary Brown, had the idea to use the glow golf balls, which make for an epic tee shot!  We had people come from all over New York State to experience it at our facility."

Photos and video submitted by Danielle Rotondo

terry hills eclipse golf
terry hills eclipse golf
terry hills eclipse golf
Members of the Ladies Golf League at Terry Hills.
terry hills eclipse golf
Danielle Rotondo and her grandmother, 97-year-old Connie Babcock.

Chamber of Commerce celebrates a busy 2022 at annual meeting at Terry Hills

By Howard B. Owens
brian cousins genesee county chamber of commerce president
Brian Cousins, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

After approving a new slate of directors for the board, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce members heard a recap of a busy 2022 from Chamber President Brian Cousins.

The year started with the annual awards banquet at Batavia Downs, attended by more than 300 people. That was followed by the Celebrate Ag Dinner in Alexander, attended by more than 400 people. After that, chamber staff got busy hosting the annual Home Show at the David M. McCarthy Memorial Ice Arena in Batavia.  During the summer, the chamber hosted its annual golf and bocce ball tournament. In the fall, there was the annual Decision Makers Ag Tour.

And then there were ribbon cuttings.  Lots and lots of ribbon cuttings. There are always ribbon cuttings.

"We get requests all the time for business openings, business milestones -- Tom Turnbull (former chamber president) always taught -- and this was probably the best thing ever taught me -- that everyone always loves a good ribbon cutting," Cousins said. And it's true. A lot of people did a ton of good things in the community this year. I'm very proud of our ability to go out and support them. We probably literally had one to two requests a week. Sometimes we had two a day."

Cousins also praised the monthly Business After Hours, held at a different Chamber member location each time, as a great way to network and form important if not lasting business connections.

All of those big events return in 2024:

  • Chamber Awards, March 2.
  • Celebrate Ag Dinner, March 16
  • Home Show, in March
  • Gold and Bocce, at Terry Hills this year on July 18
  • Decision Maker's Ag Tour, being planned, date to be determined

And one of the highlights, surely, if the weather cooperates, of 2024 will be the viewing of the eclipse on April 8.  

The chamber's Tourism Bureau has been preparing for months -- there have been 50 meetings, 15 in-person talks, several monthly Zoom sessions, and "Jenny," the cow mascot, has made numerous public appearances.

And 2023 has been a good year for tourism, Cousins said.

"We are going to have a record year in terms of visitor spending into our county -- upwards of about $209 million total, sustaining about $65 million in tourism payroll. It's amazing," Cousins said.

New members of the Chamber board of directors:

  • Mickey Hyde, immediate past chair
  • Kristina Raff, with Nortera
  • Mark Brooks, with Tompkins
  • Michael Battaglia, Prudential
  • Megan Palone, Oliver's Candies
  • Jocelyn Sikorski, Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Jeremy Liles, Oliver's Candies.

The new board chairman is John Whiting of the Whiting Law Firm.

Photos: Links and Drinks fundraiser at Terry Hills

By Howard B. Owens
links and drinks at terry hills
At the completion of the ninth hole relay race, Mark Napoleone takes the picture of Richard Francis, Lexi Henderson, Jessica Weibel, and Tom Scott.
Photo by Howard Owens.

The Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation billed it as “Not Your Average Golf Outing," and the nine-hole event at Terry Hills Golf Course on Saturday evening lived up to the billing.

There were holes where golfers took shots from a ski before dancing around a mat in a musical-chairs type of game that would determine the club they would use on every shot on that hole, and a horse race to dolls to determine where the group would tee up their balls, and a relay-race (time was scored, not strokes) that involved shooting eight baskets, doing a hula hoop in a tutu and then trying to make a putt from about five feet.

Of course, it was all for a good cause.

"It's just shenanigans on nine holes of golf," said Laurie Napoleone. "We've got great sponsors and great volunteers. It's a good day. It's a lot of fun."

Photos by Howard Owens

links and drinks at terry hills
links and drinks at terry hills
links and drinks at terry hills
links and drinks at terry hills
links and drinks at terry hills
links and drinks at terry hills
links and drinks at terry hills
links and drinks at terry hills
links and drinks at terry hills
links and drinks at terry hills

BHS grad and aspiring sports broadcaster encouraged by ESPN legend at Jim Kelly Classic

By Howard B. Owens
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Jim Kelly welcomes golfers to the annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic at Terry Hills in Batavia.
Photo by Howard Owens.

After Jim Kelly, the Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer and host of the annual tournament at Terry Hills that bears his name, the celebrity who invariably gets the most attention upon his arrival year after year is sports broadcasting legend Chris Berman. 

On Monday, after local businessman Russ Romano introduced him, Berman took extra time to talk with Griffin Della Penna, a Batavia High School graduate now working on his Master's degree in broadcasting and digital media at Syracuse University. 

Della Penna said Berman was his earliest inspiration.

"I’ll never forget watching Sportscenter for the first time with my dad when I was six years old, and Chris Berman was on the screen," Della Penna told The Batavian. "I loved his passion and how you could tell that he genuinely loved his job. Since that day, I’ve admired him, and he ignited a dream of being in his shoes someday."

It was Della Penna's first time meeting Berman, though he had hoped to meet him last year.

"For years, I’ve known that he’s been to the tournament and spent time in Western New York, but our paths never crossed," Della Penna said. "I worked the tournament last year and was bummed to know that he wasn’t going to be in attendance. To be able to meet one of my heroes today is something that I’ll never forget. While people are coming up to him telling him where to go for registration or to sign autographs, he politely told them to wait because he wanted to learn more about me and my broadcasting journey! That was the best feeling in the world when he asked me about my time at Canisius and how my program at Syracuse has been so far. He asked how much I love this profession, and he had a huge grin when I told him, 'this isn’t work to me because I’m so passionate about it.' He told me how he had that same mentality with his first job at a small market in Rhode Island and carried that into his big break at ESPN. At the end of our conversation, I told him how much it meant to me to talk to me, and he said, 'I look forward to hearing you when you make it big, Griffin.'”

In addition to a stint as "The Voice of the Muckdogs," Della Penna has held down various internships and freelance sports journalism gigs while attending Canisius. He's also received a couple of awards and scholarships while in college.

Berman, along with the other sports stars and celebrities in attendance, was at Terry Hills for the annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic, which is a fundraiser for the Kelly for Kids Foundation. The foundation provides grants to assist disadvantaged and disabled youth in Western New York.

sports broadcasting legend Chris Berman and griffin della penna
Griffin Della Penna poses with ESPN sports broadcasting legend Chris Berman.
Photo by Howard Owens.
sports broadcasting legend Chris Berman and griffin della penna
Chris Berman speaking with Griffin Della Penna.
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Thurman Thomas arriving at Terry Hills.
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Former Pro Bowler receiver Gerald McNeil at the autograph table.
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Kato Kaelin, with his wife Shengyi Xue, waits to step up to the autograph table behind Scott Norwood and Willie "Hutch" Jones. Jones is a former NBA player born in Buffalo who now runs the Willie Hutch Jones Sports and Education Program, a non-profit in Buffalo. Norwood is a former Bills kicker. Xue is a model and actress. And Kaelin, is, well, Kato Kaelin. 
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Johnny Damon, former star centerfielder with the Oakland As, Boston Red Sox, and New York Yankees, at the autograph table. Russ Romano on the left.
Photo by Howard Owens.
jim kelly tournament at terry hills 2023
Johnny Damon with WBTA's Nici Johnson.
Photo by Howard Owens.

Laughs and smiles at 10th Derby Day also serves a worthwhile cause

By Howard B. Owens
Laure Napoleone
Laurie Napoleone during the auction at Derby Day at Terry Hills, which benefits the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.
Photo by Howard Owens

It's doubtful the folks who gathered at Churchill Downs in Louisville had much more fun than the nearly 250 people who gathered at Terry Hills on Saturday for the 10th Annual Derby Day to benefit the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.

Before the big race, attendees socialized and participated in a fast-paced live auction led by Todd Jantzi from Bontrager's Auction House.

The bidding was quite competitive. For example, a four-night stay at Palm Harbor in Florida for up to 11 guests attracted a lot of attention.

Keith and Jill O'Neill, from Pendleton, were particularly excited to win the vacation package.  Keith said he wasn't sure how much it was worth, but he was sure it was a bargain at $4,000.

He beat out at least four other bidders.

"This is the first time I've ever done anything like that in my life," Keith said. "So I feel good. It is so worth it. The charity the money is going to, the money couldn't go to a better place."

It is a fun event, but also bittersweet, said Laurie Napoleone, whose son Michael would have turned 25 this year, possibly graduating from college, if not for the cancer, Burkitt’s Lymphoma/Leukemia, that claimed his life when he was eight years old in 2007.

"We wish we could have Michael back with us," Laurie said. "It was tragic and the worst thing that happened in my life, but people rallied around us, they came together to help us and supported us, and supported us financially, and out of that came the foundation so we could pay it forward."

The foundation has paid out more than $900,000 to families in circumstances similar to the Napoleones.

As fun, as Derby Day is every year, there is a moment of serious contemplation every year when one of the families assisted by the foundation tells their story. This year, Laurie said, it was the Waterman family from Middleport.

"We work hard to make this a great, fun event," Laurie said. "But the flip side is, we have to help out families with kids who are facing the challenge of cancer. Every year, we have somebody come and tell their story, and it's always hard to hear. It's emotional. It's heart-wrenching, but it's why we're here."

Keith O'Neill
Keith O'Neill bidding on the Palm Beach trip while his wife points to help ensure his bid is seen.
Photo by Howard Owens
Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Todd Jantzi
Todd Jantzi, Bontrager's, acknowledging an opening bid.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Keith and Jill O'Neill, from Pendelton
A group of ladies trying to keep up with the bidding on the Palm Beach vacation package.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation
A competitive bidder glancing back at Keith O'Neill to see if he's going to bid again.
Photo by Howard Owens
Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation
And then she bids again.
Photo by Howard Owens
Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Keith and Jill O'Neill
Keith and Jill O'Neill, from Pendleton, after placing the highest bid on the Palm Beach vacation.
Photo by Howard Owens.
Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.
Photo by Howard Owens


Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.
Photo by Howard Owens
Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.
Photo by Howard Owens
Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.
Photo by Howard Owens
Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation
Photo by Howard Owens


Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.
Photo by Howard Owens

Photos: 35th Annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament

By Steve Ognibene


Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, formerly of the Buffalo Bills, along with his teammates, past NFL football players, and local attendees from all over Western New York, played in the 35th annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Classic fundraiser Monday morning at Terry Hills golf course in Batavia.

Kelly thanked many sponsors, including volunteers, and "Dennis, Trisha and Ashley," who has been a core trio that has organized the event for the past 25 years. In his kickoff speech, Kelly emphasized "No Mulligans and five total hits," the prizes are serious, and the fun is like "Caddyshack."

Kelly for Kids Foundation raises millions of dollars and gives back to local charities, he said. The "reunion" tournament that many from all over the country come back to annually is what fans, family and friends of #BillsMafia look forward to, support, and have a great time participating in, they say.

"The main reason we came to Terry Hills to start with, is that they have 27 holes. We would have 10 to 12 foursomes on a waiting list that we had to turn away on an 18-hole golf course," Kelly said.  "They have built this place into a gorgeous facility, and they take unbelievable great care of us."


Pete Metzelaars


Eric Wood


Former GM Bill Polian


Christopher McDonald "Shooter McGavin"


Bruce Smith and Darryl Talley


(left) John Randle


Joe DeLamielleure


Edward Rutkowski


Bruce Smith at Jim Kelly's press conference

Fun in the sun for players in 27th Annual Genesee Cancer Assistance Golf Tournament

By Howard B. Owens


It was a perfect day for 18 holes of golf yesterday at Terry Hills, which hosted the 27th Annual Genesee Cancer Assistance Golf Tournament.

Director Sue Underwood said the tournament last year raised $28,000 and this year they hoped to raise more than $30,000.

"We're hopeful we will be over 30, but we're thankful for whatever we make," she said.

The tournament is the non-profit's main fundraiser for the year. The funds are used to provide assistance to cancer patients.

This year 36 teams participated, and sponsorships increased from 52 a year ago to 62 this year.  There were more than 200 prizes, either door prizes or auction items, available to participants. 

Top photo: Ron Puccio stripes his ball down the middle of the fairway to get his tournament, and his team, off to a good start.  His team (next three photos) included Dan Voltura, Fred Hamilton, and Ed Priestley.

Photos by Howard Owens.





Bill Utter, in orange shirt, last year's 50-50 drawing winner, gets ready to draw the 2022 winner, while Sue Underwood and Chris Rumfola look on.




Photos: 2022 Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Derby Day Gala

By Howard B. Owens


In August 2019, life in the Morgante family went from happy-go-lucky to something far more stressful.

Doctors found that Donato, at 13 months old, had cancer.  His little kidney had swollen, and it was essentially a single mass of diseased tissue.

The good news, if there was any, was that the cancer was stage one.  It hadn't spread to any other organs.  After six months of chemo, Donato was in remission and doctors estimate that he has a 91 percent chance of remaining in remission.

That news brought a round of applause from the more than 200 in attendance at the annual Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation Derby Day Gala Saturday at Terry Hills.

Along with the doctors, this was the foundation that gave the Donato family -- Joe and Jackie along with their other four children, Nina, Ryan, Vincent, and Coleman -- the most hope and the most support.

"They really got us through the most trying time of our lives," Joe said.

After Joe shared his family's experience, Laurie Napoleone presented Joe with a giant $2,000 check as a gift from the Foundation. Joe immediately said "We're donating it back."  Laurie wouldn't have it. "No," she said. "Go do something fun with your family.  Go on a vacation."  











Napoleone Foundation's Derby Gala returns to Terry Hills on May 7

By Press Release


Press release:

The Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation is getting Back to the Races as they prepare for the 2022 Derby Day Gala. Due to the pandemic, this major fundraiser has been on hold for the past 2 years, but it is back and better than ever!!! 

The Kentucky- Derby-themed event includes an evening filled with big hats, colorful outfits, food, beverages, raffles and auctions all to support the mission of the foundation. In preparation for the event, the Foundation is reaching out for sponsorships, donations, and prizes.   

Tickets and table sponsorships can be obtained by calling 585-861-0550. More information can be found at Tickets include admission, food, wine, beer, a professional photo and a random ticket for the actual race. There will be a contest for the best hat, prizes for the most Dapper Derby male and Dapper Derby couple!  

The event will be held May 7 at Terry Hills Golf Course & Banquet Facility in Batavia from 4-9 p.m. 

The Michael Napoleone Foundation assists families facing the challenges of a childhood cancer diagnosis, provides grants for youth activities and programs and supports research efforts in the study of pediatric blood cancers. The Foundation was created in memory of Michael Napoleone, who passed away in 2006 after a battle with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. It was created to give back to those who assisted and pay it forward to those in need.  

Lend a Hand of Hope and come and support a great event for a greater cause! 

Photos: File photo by Howard Owens


Second Annual GO Art! Golfball Drop

By James Burns


GO Art! Of Genesee and Orleans Counties held the 2nd annual Golf Ball drop at Terry Hills Golf Course and Banquet Facility on Tuesday morning. The event had been delayed by weather. Event sponsor Zeliff Aviation dropped a few thousand golf balls on a beautiful fall day over the course. Jerianne Bruce was the grand prize winner of $2,000 and Dave Beatty and Mathew Johnson were runners-up winning prizes donated by Terry Hills. 






Photos: Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic at Terry Hills

By James Burns


Willie "Hutch" Jones

On Monday, Terry Hills Golf Course hosted the annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic, a year after it had to be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.  

Jim Kelly was unable to attend this year due to an injury.

Photos by Jim Burns.


Kato Kaelin


Fred Smerlas


Ed Rutkowski



Roger Goodell


Darryl Talley and Bruce Smith


Eric Wood


Warren Sapp


Daniel Baldwin


Team Terry Hills


Chris Berman

Terry Hills announces hospitality promotions

By Billie Owens

Submitted photos and press release:

Terry Hills Golf Course, Restaurant and Banquet Facility has promoted Danielle Rotondo (top photo) to General Manager and Chris DeVay to Restaurant and Banquet Manager (left, bottom photo). Amanda ("Mandy") Narburgh (right, bottom photo) has rejoined the team as Assistant Restaurant and Banquet Manager.

In her new role, Rotondo will be responsible for overseeing daily operations of the golf course, restaurant and banquet facility. In her former position as Restaurant and Banquet Manager, she was instrumental in positioning Terry Hills to become one of the premier locations for weddings and events. She is also the on-site wedding specialist, assisting brides through the entire process and making sure their special day goes smoothly.

She is the perfect fit for General Manager.

Rotondo has more than 20 years experience in the golf course and restaurant industry. She earned her business degree in Golf Club Management from SUNY Delhi and is a 2008 graduate of Leadership Genesee. She is a member of both the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation.

DeVay, now filling the Restaurant and Banquet Manager position, was the Assistant Restaurant and Banquet Manager and is making a smooth transition to Rotondo's former role. He is a graduate of Genesee Community College and has almost 25 years of experience in the restaurant business.

With his hands-on experience, skill set and attention to detail, DeVay is an excellent choice to expertly execute daily operations of the restaurant and banquet facility.

Narburgh has rejoined the Terry Hills team, filling the Assistant Restaurant and Banquet Manager position. She had previously worked at Terry Hills as a Server and Floor Manager. She has 15 years of restaurant experience, specializing in front of the house operations. She is a great addition to the management team and she strives to make every guest’s visit a memorable one.

Terry Hills, located at 5122 Clinton Street Road in Batavia, has been family owned and operated since 1972 and recognizes the importance of personalized service, attention to detail, and professionalism.

They have fully integrated these beliefs into their operating strategies and overall philosophy on how they do business. They are the perfect midpoint location between Buffalo and Rochester, located in the Town of Batavia.

Video: Sights and sounds at the Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic

By Howard B. Owens


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Terry Hills hosted the 33rd Annual Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic.  

Featured in the video, QB Josh Allen, Jim Kelly, Chris Berman, Thruman Thomas, Eric Wood, and Commissioner Roger Goodell, who makes it clear, if Buffalo taxpayers want to keep the Bills, they're going to need to pony up for a new stadium.

Video: Derby Day Fundraiser at Terry Hills

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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Terry Hills hosted the annual Derby Day fundraiser for the Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation on Saturday.

Video:: Bridal show at Terry Hills

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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New chef at Terry Hills sets out to take what's good and make it better

By Howard B. Owens


Let's talk about French fries.

The lowly fry. Can you really kick it up a notch?

Cooking a gourmet fry is actually no secret. Any competent chef can do it. But it's a lot of work.

The new chef at Terry Hills, John Steward, is ready to do the work.

It's a four-day process that consists of blanching, drying, blanching again, more drying, freezing and then frying.

The result is a fry that has a veneer of crunch and a soft, fluffy center, like a perfectly cooked baked potato or a mouthful of savory clouds.

We told Steward we were going to write about his fries and that some people might find that odd. He agreed.

"People will be like 'oh, this guy doesn't know what he's talking about, talking about good French fries,' " Steward said. "A fry is a fry, you know. But at the same time, people feel like, 'oh, why is this fry so good? What's so different?' And that's what we need right now. We need people talking about Terry Hills. So many times I hear that people forget that Terry Hills is a restaurant."

A native of Rochester, Steward, is a new father, current resident of Le Roy and the former sous chef at Farmer's Creekside Tavern & Inn.

Terry Hills isn't his first head chef's job, but it may be his most important. It's a chance, he said, not only to take Terry Hills to the next level but also to better establish his name and provide his staff with the training necessary to help advance their careers. Those are his goals.

They're ambitious for a guy who a little over six years ago started in the restaurant business as a dishwasher and quickly moved through his first kitchen, entirely self taught, to be ready to run a kitchen himself a few years later -- La Luna, in Rochester.

"Yeah, I never went to a culinary college or school," Steward said. "Everything I've learned, I've learned on the job. I've done a lot of research on my own, watched a lot of shows, read a lot. When I first started, I would go to the public market and buy a bag full of potatoes and  sit in my apartment working on knife cuts."

Danielle Rotondo, VP, and co-owner of Terry Hills, said Steward was just what management was looking for -- young and ambitious and eager to take the dining experience for lunch, dinners, and banquets to the next level. He came out on top after three rounds of interviews and several reference checks.

"We want to grow; we want to do more; we want to show Batavia that we're not just a golf course," Rotondo said. "You know we have our golf course, our restaurant, our banquet facility, we have all of that here, and, yes, we want to show that there are some different things out here and there are different ways to do it. Yes, it's Batavia, but we can also go on the edge a little bit and try something else."

To show off how Terry Hills will take it to the next level, a couple of weeks ago the restaurant hosted a chef's menu night for a few dozens guests both to introduce some new dishes and as a kind of soft opening on how things are changing.

It was at that chef's menu night that we tried those crisp, fluffy fries. But Steward also introduced diners to his gnocchi carbonara, like everything that night, made from scratch, consisting of hand-rolled, house-made ricotta in a rich and thick carbonara sauce with diced ham and peas.

Steward also served a dry-aged strip steak, a pan-seared salmon, chicken roulade, to go along with a wedge salad, a Caesar salad, and a grain medley.

Many of these dishes -- particularly, say, the fries and the gnocchi -- take substantial prep time but Steward said there's no reason he and his line staff aren't up to the demands of the extra effort.

"As you're organized, you always have lists going; then it should be executable," Steward said. "There's no reason why it shouldn't be executable."

Steward said what makes a good dining experience is fresh ingredients, scratch cooking, and service. It's his job to oversee all aspects of a guest's experience at Terry Hills now, and he plans to pay attention to those details.

"Even if I go to a diner, or if I go to a finer place, you can see if the food is taken care of, if people care about quality," Steward said. "I think that is what makes a good meal -- making sure you use fresh ingredients, you use the proper techniques, execute the proper techniques. Your execution is what makes a good meal."

He said he expects the care of the kitchen staff to be carried out into the dining room by the servers.

"Nothing frustrates me more when I go to a place, and I ask a server a question about the menu, and the server is like, 'I don't know,' Steward said. "You should, you should. To me, I feel like it's your job to know the menu to know what the chef is trying to cook.

"There's going to be time and money invested to ensure our staff is trained properly."

The one thing Steward didn't change for the night was Terry Hill's famous seafood bisque.

"The only thing I might change is the garnish and change the saltines to oyster crackers," Steward said. "I think a seafood bisque should have oyster crackers."

While upgrading the sit-down lunch and dinner menus for Terry Hills is high on the agenda, Steward said he also plans to revamp the banquet service.

"I'm not knocking the former chefs here, but some of these recipes are outdated," Steward said, "by like 25 years."

That doesn't necessarily mean there will be big changes in menu choices. He already considers Terry Hills the premier banquet facility in Batavia. He thinks a few changes to how things are done will make it even better.

"I understand that like I can completely get everything off the menu," Steward said. "But, again, some of the techniques we're using here again are outdated. No one uses them anymore so. Therefore, we need to update our techniques to make a better product. The quality of the product will improve but still essentially be the same, they will have the same ingredients, but it's just going to be a better product overall because it's done better."

Steward said the chef's that inspire him include: Massimo Bottura, owner of Osteria Francescana in Italy, now ranked the #1 restaurant in the world (Bottura was the subject of the first episode of Chef's Table on Netflix); Thomas Keller, a chef and restauranteur in California; and, Wylie Dufresne, a chef in Manhattan.

"I pride myself working hard, putting in the hours," Steward said. "I think anyone who does that is going to do well in any field."

Steward thinks he can take what he's learned on his own and use that knowledge to help make his line cooks better. He would like to be known as a chef who helps his staff advance their careers.

"I really want to make really good food," Steward said. "In that process, I want to teach the guys that are here, too. As I said from day one, my goal is for you guys, whenever your time is up here, is to walk into any kitchen (and) be the best cook that walks in that kitchen because you've got trained by me."

Photo: Judge Balbick shares sunrise picture

By Howard B. Owens


Batavia City Court Judge Robert Balbick saw the photo we shared this morning from yesterday's sunrise as seen at DeWitt Recreation Area and wanted to share the picture he took about the same time at Terry Hills Golf Course.

Photos: 2018 Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic at Terry Hills

By Howard B. Owens


Today, Terry Hills hosted the annual Jim Kelly Golf Celebrity Classic, a fundraiser created by the Buffalo Bills great to help support several children's' charities in Western New York.

Above Dean Cain, who played for the Buffalo Bills for a short time before launching an acting career that has included a role as Superman, talks with his golf partners for the tournament.


Dean Cain on the tee.


Willie Hutch Jones with fans. Jones played for the San Diego Clippers in the early 80s. He's originally from Buffalo and for the past 30 years has been director of the Willie Hutch Jones Educational & Sports Programs in Buffalo. The program's mission: "... to provide every child, at no cost, equal opportunities to engage in the highest quality program and to offer character building activities through academics, sports, and the arts."


Thurman Thomas


Thurman Thomas with his golf partners.


Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, former Dallas Cowboys receiver, signs a Buffalo Bills cap for Luke Gutman.


LPGA professional golfer Cindy Miller.


Danielle Rotondo with actor Dennis Haskins.


Local golfers T.J. Woodward, Ray Tortorice, Tim Woodword, and Matt Meyer, with former Bills player Ed Rutkowski (center).


Danielle Rotondo with ESPN's broadcasting legend Chris Berman.


Chris Berman.


Jim Kelly cuts ribbon on new Terry Hills 14th green bridge

By Howard B. Owens


When Terry Hills Golf Course built the 14th hold more than 30 years ago, the green, on one of the course's signature holes, was mostly surrounded by water. To provide a bridge to the green, two telephone polls were placed across the water.

In the three decades that passed, the weather did its work on the wood, so last summer the bridge was removed.

This year a new bridge was installed, and with Jim Kelly on hand to cut the ribbon, it was officially opened.

Top photo: Mary Brown, Casey Brown, Danielle Rotondo, Jessica Ecock-Rotondo, Ellen Simkulet and Nick Rotondo.


Below, two photos provided by Terry Hills. First, Tom Brown walking across the telephone polls when first placed over the water. Second, Casey Brown walking across the first beam placed for the new bridge.



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