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Chef Stephen Pusateri is preparing to open a second Lewiston restaurant, which he is calling Bistro Avera. Framing for a new bar was installed this week, and renovation work is well underway at 555 Center St.
Chef Stephen Pusateri is preparing to open a second Lewiston restaurant, which he is calling Bistro Avera. Framing for a new bar was installed this week, and renovation work is well underway at 555 Center St.

Villa Coffee owner/chef Pusateri to open Bistro Avera on Center Street

by jmaloni
Fri, Jan 12th 2024 11:00 am

Pusateri anticipates dinner destination will open this spring

Left of Center with Joshua Maloni

A popular village restaurateur plans to open a second Lewiston location this spring.

The Villa Coffee House owner/chef Stephen Pusateri is taking over 555 Center St., space formerly occupied by The Como Deli.

He said, “The name of the new restaurant will be Bistro Avera. It will be a casual dining experience offering thoughtful food with a quality bar program, including craft cocktails and beautiful wine.”

Pusateri wouldn’t yet elaborate on his menu, but explained, “There is so much I have learned, want to learn and evolve on, that to put a clear definition on what we are serving would be impossible.

“I can say this: The menu will be well thought out and will derive mostly from Italian and French influence with, at times, a contemporary approach. Menu items will change frequently to reflect the seasons and the availability of products, but most importantly to reflect what I want to serve on a plate.

“Drawing inspiration from other cuisines, chefs and restaurants and making dishes your own is the most rewarding part of cooking. So, expect change and take the time to enjoy it, because it is a reflection of us – and know that a cook’s only intention is to make you smile with every bite.”

With regard to the location, Pusateri said, “Being on Center Street will bring more visibility and accessibility, especially to those who do not live in Lewiston.”

Inside the building, “The bistro will hold around 30 seats, including the seating at our newly renovated bar, which will seat four to six people. The dining area is smaller than what we currently have at the Villa, but the kitchen is bigger.

“We are very excited about seating on the patio during the warmer months, which could add 12-15 seats.”

Bistro Avera will start with dinner hours Wednesdays through Saturdays.

“That is subject to change with the seasons, possibly adding a lunch service during the warmer and more heavily trafficked months,” Pusateri said.

The chef, who has worked in Lewiston, Youngstown, Niagara Falls, Grand Island, Buffalo and Florida, began at Villa Coffee six years ago. At that time, he said the well-known breakfast offerings would continue – but he also hinted at doing more.

“My intention when taking over the Villa was always to incorporate a dinner program, but life just got in the way for a while – and I don’t mean that it a negative way,” Pusateri said. “So many great things have happened in our lives, my wife and I, since embarking on the Villa in February of 2018 – she being one of them, as we got married in the summer of that year.

“We finally decided to start our dinner program in the early months of 2022, to very positive reviews, and quickly established a loyal following. Unfortunately, it never took off the way we anticipated it, and decided to end the program in the spring of 2023.

“We also caught wind of the location on Center Street and decided to go in that direction with dinner.

“I didn’t know what to expect when we started to offer dinner at the Villa, and I don’t know what to expect at Avera; all I know is I have a passion for cooking and making people happy through it.”

Pusateri has developed a sterling reputation for his culinary vision, earning positive reviews online and in different publications.

“We are very appreciative of all the support we have received locally since opening the Villa, whether it was breakfast, lunch, dinner or catering,” he said. “I was born and raised here and want to continue to be a part of the community. But we don’t want to stop at the people of Lewiston; we are aiming to be a destination.”

Though Villa Coffee is listed as for sale, Pusateri emphasized the restaurant will remain open.

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