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Silo staffers upbeat as they prepare for another busy summer in Lewiston

by jmaloni
Sat, Apr 29th 2017 09:00 am
The Silo Restaurant in the Village of Lewiston.
The Silo Restaurant in the Village of Lewiston.

By Joshua Maloni

Managing Editor

When you crank out 2,000 orders a day, all summer long, season after season - as The Silo Restaurant does - you're bound to make a few fans.

The Lewiston waterfront restaurant is approaching 8,000 "Likes" on Facebook, and has even more fans in the 3-D world. Many of them live locally, while others make it a night out and come in from various Western New York locations. Some have bought T-shirts, while others visit for a meal more than once a week.

But not one of them is as big a fan as Edward Plesnicar.

He and his wife, Jennifer, and sometimes other family members and friends, patronize The Silo multiple times each year.

All the way from Ashtabula, Ohio.

That's roughly six hours, round-trip, for a "Haystack" ribeye steak sandwich, or an almost-10-scoop "Sand Dock Sundae."

"I was watching 'Man V. Food' (where the 'Haystack' was featured), and they had a segment on there that they were showing about the Niagara area," Plesnicar said. "My wife and I went to two out of the three (televised locations). And The Silo was one of them."

Now, while the first trip to Lewiston was out of curiosity, subsequent trips were the result of The Silo's food quality and hospitable staff.

"Oh, definitely," Plesnicar said. "Every time we go to Niagara Falls, we always stop up there, and either go there before we go into Niagara Falls or on the way back. We probably go about four or five times a year."

Though the restaurant opened less than 10 days ago, Plesnicar and his wife have already stopped in for a meal.

Stacey Sheehan, The Silo's business development manager and Swiss Army Knife, said, "We call him 'Super Fan Edward.' "

"He'll contact me through Facebook and say, 'Hey, I'm coming for a snack.' And he gets here, and he checks in on Facebook, and he photographs his food, and he drives back to Ohio," she explained. "Edward, he rounds up wagonloads of people from Ohio, and he brings them here and does his own food tour. And it's all Silo. He takes them through the caboose flavors, he gets them all 'Haystacks,' they do photos. He, honestly, is our biggest fan. ... It's just amazing how loyal he is."

Plesnicar said, "The staff is very friendly; it's got a nice atmosphere; a beautiful view; the food is really good."

"Everything's just fabulous," he noted.

 

The Silo's ice cream caboose.

The Silo opened for the 2017 summer season last Friday. Plesnicar - who's already tried one of the new ice cream flavors - and others have noticed the ice cream caboose has a fresh coat of paint and a new awning. Sheehan said guests can enjoy "New ice cream flavors that are already off the hook. There's a peanut butter bon bon one that's already emerging as a major fan favorite."

"I loved it," Plesnicar said.

What, seven and eight years ago, was the subject of some debate due to its size and condition (relative to the view of the Niagara River), has now become a popular Water Street fixture.

"I think (the caboose) really completed the story, historically, because it's sort of in line with where the terrain backed up to the silo to dump the coal," Silo proprietor Alan Hastings said. "It's just not any caboose, it's one that's been in our community for a long time (at Ted Marrs), and then it made it here.

"It's an 1800s wooden caboose - built in 1890 as a boxcar. In the '30s, they changed the size of a boxcar from 35 feet to 45 feet. And then they took the boxcars that were in good condition, built a tower on them, gave them a new chassis, and put them on a rail. And it was on rail until the late '60s."

"It needed a lot of work ... but I do not get any complaints anymore," Hastings said. "In fact, only compliments. And it really looks like it belongs here."

"It's only enhanced things," Sheehan said. "And being as we are, historical Lewiston, it only makes sense that we would have something down here that would complement our community's famous love of history."

Inside the restaurant's main eating area, guests will find new iron railings and "The Silo" cutouts lining the windows.

 

"We actually installed these because I noticed my son has a habit of getting on his knees on the table and wanting to look over the edge and see what's going on out there" on the Niagara River, Sheehan said. "Alan and I talked about extending that (rail) a little just so the little guys have a little more of a barrier there."

Aesthetics aside, "The menu, we still have all of the regular favorites, but we are putting an emphasis on our specials board this year," Sheehan said. "Every week there will be some really creative masterpieces in there. We've got a good list of fun and interesting specials coming up."

"Gourmet burgers and chicken sandwiches," Hastings said.

Sheehan said what keeps guests like Plesnicar coming back to The Silo is that it offers "a different experience, and it's something that is only available part of the year. It's kind of like a novelty. It's not just going to eat a burger or a chicken sandwich; it's the whole experience."

Part of that experience is made-to-order food, which, as the signs along the building suggest, takes time to prepare - and requires guests to be patient. Silo staffers are constantly working to make prep time and cooking as efficient as possible.

"We've got a pretty big staff this year," Sheehan said. "It seems to be growing every year - the need for more staff - so we're constantly looking at ways to speed up the process here. The pagers are back and working really well for us. That's made things quieter and a lot less hectic down here."

Niagara University student Lexi Alfiere has returned for a second year as restaurant manager.

"I can guarantee you things are going to run smoother than ever, because I have the best manager in the world," Hastings said. "I really do. I've got Lexi, so we can do so much more. She's 19 years old, and I couldn't hire anybody with more experience who would do a better job."

Sheehan added, "I have never encountered anyone at the age of 19 with this skillset. She's amazing. We're very fortunate to have her. She is our secret weapon."

Alfiere said, "For me, now that we know exactly how everything is started and goes ... I'm able to put a little pep in my step and make it fun for everyone."

"We have the best staff in the world," Sheehan said.

"We're hoping to have a super-fun summer," she explained. "We finally got things moving like a well-oiled machine, so it's time to start having some fun with it."

"It's really great to be back to The Silo," Hastings said. "I feel like my soul is complete. And I'm working with two of the best girls in the world, and I'm super psyched for another great summer in Lewiston."

Plesnicar, by the way, said he's considering a return to The Silo at the end of May.

The Silo Restaurant is located at 115 N. Water St., Lewiston; and online at www.lewistonsilo.com.

Pictured, from left, along with the famous Silo bears outside the caboose, are Alan Hastings, Stacey Sheehan and Lexi Alfiere  

Pictured, from left, along with the famous Silo bears outside the caboose, are Alan Hastings, Stacey Sheehan and Lexi Alfiere (also shown below).

 

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