Food & Drink

Little Rock City Grill is open for business

399c9af946a8262ccf58_50e34a8c33be20bbcc40_12351288_1194654660548189_1312647512_n.jpg
399c9af946a8262ccf58_50e34a8c33be20bbcc40_12351288_1194654660548189_1312647512_n.jpg

Salamanca transplant Bob Rusiniak brings his South Buffalo-style sizzle and hospitality to the Little Rock City Grill at The Coach – a restaurant that he began rebuilding from the bottom up nearly 15 years ago.

Rusiniak’s story begins in his grandmother’s kitchen in Cheektowaga – a suburb of Buffalo that he calls home. He started cooking with her at a young age; when he was 14 years old, he was already baking wedding cakes for his family and friends.

“It was kind of a hobby until she got me doing it. They were really funky ones at first until I started getting good at it,” he said. “My mother and my grandmother even started buying me my own pans.”

Sign Up for E-News

As a student at Cheektowaga Central High School in 1978, Rusiniak attended the BOCES culinary arts program and studied under European caterer and chef Maurice Clark. He also studied architectural design.

After graduating from BOCES, Clark referred Rusiniak to the folks at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium – better known as the “Aud Club” at this time. Before it closed in 1996, the Aud Club was a two-story restaurant and indoor arena located in downtown Buffalo near HSBC Arena.

Bob Rusiniak, owner of the Little Rock City Grill at The Coach, whipping something up in his kitchen.

“I was like, ‘Great. I’m going to be a weenie roaster,’ ” he joked. While he wasn’t selling hotdogs and hamburgers to the wealthy patrons, he started out by washing pots and pans.

Because of the challenge of starting from the bottom, Rusiniak was ready to put up a fight. He spent seven years working his way up to assistant chef.

After working at the Aud Club, he spent several years working as a bus driver and helping out at a family friend’s restaurant in Buffalo. Eventually, Rusiniak knew it was time to move on and start something new. When he started searching the Cattaraugus County area, he stumbled across the old coach stop.

“This place was shot, gone. The only thing holding it up was the stone in the building,” he said as he recalled making an agreement to buy the property. “I got it for a really good price.”

“I asked [the previous owner] if she would hold the mortgage for a little while for me, and I told her I would be back in a few weeks,” he recalled.

He started gutting the old building, emptying everything out and replacing the damaged parts.

“There was no electric, no gas, the windows were busted, it needed new doors … that was the hard part – just trying to empty everything out of this place,” he added.

Rusiniak used his carpentry, engineering and architectural skills learned in BOCES to build the Little Rock City Grill from the ground up. Nestled in the foothills between Salamanca and Little Valley on Route 353, The Coach has been in business since 2007.

“I wanted to keep it historic,” said Rusiniak. “I didn’t want to change much of anything. The main dining room ceilings are basically original.”

The Coach has wood-burning fireplaces, flagstone flooring and comfortable seating for patrons. During Christmastime, Rusiniak and his staff decorate the cozy dining room with lights, garland and ornaments.

The restaurant has an authentic, rustic atmosphere that keeps guests comfortable while waiting for their made-from-scratch meals. Rusiniak prides himself on his fresh, homemade side dishes he carefully prepares and meticulously presents to the customer.

Rusiniak recently built an addition onto the barroom where guests can watch a football game and play a game of pool while they wait.

While he is proud of the work he has put into The Coach, Rusiniak sees another path of life unfolding in front of him.

“I’ve always wanted to get into the canoe and kayak business, and the staff always laughs when I say that,” he said.

The 54-year-old business owner, who employs a waitress and a bartender and sometimes a weekend chef, is preparing for change at any moment. “This place is always up for sale,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to have a change of pace.”

Little Rock City Grill at the Coach is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 4 to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 9 p.m.

# # #

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

After a 46-year absence, I'm Still at Home on Bona Radio

A timeworn idiom asserts that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.  As a retired guy, floating around in my mid-sixties, I easily qualify as an “old dog.” But since September I’ve been doing a weekly radio show on St. Bonaventure University’s radio station, WSBU FM, 88.3, the Buzz, and I’m thinking that perhaps that old negative phrase can be turned into a ...

Self-Defense Empowers Women

Real estate agent Mary Stachowicz fears becoming a victim of violence.

Why? Because she shows houses to groups of men by herself.

Stachowicz voiced those fears after the Jan. 27 “Beyond Self Defense Seminar” she attended at AKT Combatives Academy in Olean. And she said she believed that in order to overcome this fear, it would be valuable to learn self-defense.

“My son ...

The Story of Punxsutawney Phil

With Groundhog Day landing on Friday this year, thousands will watch in person and even more will tune in from home to see Punxsutawney Phil make his yearly prediction.

As legend has it, if Phil sees his shadow at dusk on Feb. 2, six more weeks of winter are on its way. If Phil doesn’t see his shadow, and early spring can be expected.

Phil may very well be the world’s second ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, February 19, 10:00 AM

Cuba Circulating Library, Cuba

Cabin Fever Playgroup

Education

Tue, February 20, 12:30 PM

Gallery, Olean Public Library, Olean

Brown Bag Book Club

Arts & Entertainment Education

Tue, February 20, 6:00 PM

Gallery, Olean Public Library, Olean

Film Screening: Dunkirk

Arts & Entertainment

Archbishop Walsh Academy Awarded International Baccalaureate Educator Grants

February 14, 2018

OLEAN, NY -- The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) has awarded three International Baccalaureate (IB) educator grants to teachers at Archbishop Walsh Academy. The funds, totaling $1500, will provide additional resources to IB educators seeking to deepen and enrich curriculum content and increase student engagement. NSHSS awarded twenty grants to ...

Exhibit Opening at JCC's Olean Campus Offers New Ways to Visualize Disease and Recovery

OLEAN, NY -- A new exhibition, titled “Artist/Patient/Advocate: Works by Elizabeth Jameson and Ted Meyer,” offers new ways of visualizing disease and recovery.

Opening Friday from 6-8 p.m. in the Center Gallery on the Jamestown Community College Olean campus, this exhibit features artwork that incorporates diagnostic brain scans, photographs and rubbings taken from body scars. Los ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...