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Council reviews proposed chain restaurant on Elmwood

Common council deliberates.jpg
WBFO News file photo

Food dominated yesterday's Common Council Legislation Committee.

For all kinds of legal reasons, food and restaurants wind up before the Council.
That can include licenses or variances or many of the other myriad aspects of city government.

A major local developer wants to push a video store out of one Elmwood building and replace it with a Panera's; another store worries that a Panera's across the street will hurt business.
"Restaurant business is not easy," said Council President Richard Fontana. "I did it for years. I came back and did it in my neighborhood and then my brother took over. He has a nice business built up. It's not easy. But it's rewarding."

Lawyer Thomas Eoannou appeared at the committee meeting to protest a plan to put Panera's into what's now Blockbuster across from Globe Market, co-owned by his wife Alice.

"When you look at Benchmark's (Panera's parent company) web site, they boast a billion dollars in assets. They boast properties in 12-states," Eoannou said. "They put small businesses out of business."

After the committee voted to send the proposal to the full Council without recommendation.

No one from Benchmark wanted to comment.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.