News Column

Beyond the bakery

July 14, 2014

By Jill Keppeler, Tonawanda News, North Tonawanda, N.Y.

July 14--For years, Muscoreil's Fine Desserts & Gourmet Cakes has been a go-to location for desserts and wedding and occasion cakes in Western New York.

This summer, even as the bakery deals with the rush of wedding season, changes at its associated bistro aim to create a revitalized focus on that side of the business, as well.

Ernest Ramstetter, co-owner of the bakery and bistro with David Muscoreil, said the changes include a renovation and expansion of the site, live music performances, a renewed focus on service and a menu created by new chef William Jolley at Le Bistro at Muscoreil's, located on Niagara Falls Boulevard in North Tonawanda.

"We've redone the whole menu," Ramstetter said. "We kept a lot of favorites, the staples, but we're added a lot of neat new stuff."

Organic, grain-fed, cage-free chicken is now used, as well as organic eggs, he said. The menu features gluten-free items including chicken fingers and pasta, and vegetarian and vegan offerings including hummus and tofu.

There's also a focus on using Western New York sources for produce and other ingredients -- and making some items in-house.

"We have people who stop in, drop off lettuce, drop off tomatoes," Ramstetter said. "One guy brings in potatoes; he hand-digs them.

"... We're making our own pickles now. We're making our own pickled onions. All dressings are made in-house, every one of them."

Chef Jolley, a graduate of Niagara County Community College's culinary arts program who also hold a bachelor's degree from Niagara University in hotel and restaurant management, has a number of years of experience working at the Seneca Niagara Casino restaurants, primarily at Western Door Steakhouse, and at Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Niagara Falls.

Jolley said he's trying to keep the menu's emphasis on serving local products and small businesses. The bistro's wines come from wineries within 60 miles, including Niagara Landing and Marjim Manor, and the vegetables from local farmers and farmers' markets. He also started his own small herb garden right outside the bistro.

The focus will be on what's fresh, he said. For example, "Leeks are delicious right now ... so my salmon tonight will have leeks on it."

"I'm just trying to cook," Jolley said. "Nothing's frozen. I'm just trying to get back to basics."

"... We have such a high clientele for the dessert section. I'm just trying to match that. We want to give you the best of Western New York."

On the site changes, Ramstetter said the restaurant took out a vestibule and small wall and expanded seating in the bistro, added new chairs and new flooring. Live music by such local artists as Christina Custode is scheduled Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer.

The first Muscoreil's restaurant was founded in 1920 in Buffalo by David Muscoreil's grandmother, Felicia Muscoreil. He re-founded it about 1990 on Payne Avenue in North Tonawanda.

Ramstetter joined the business in 1995. It moved to NT's Division Street in 2000, then to the current location on Niagara Falls Boulevard in 2005.

"We've taken off," Ramstetter said of the business, which has made thousands of wedding cakes for WNY brides over the years. "It's 100 times as much since we opened."


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Source: Tonawanda News (NY)

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