You can take the ladies out of Buffalo, but you can’t take Buffalo out of the ladies.
As Angela Hazan and her daughter Cassandra Bazinet get ready to celebrate the second year of Angela’s, their Punta Gorda restaurant, they continue to provide the food and atmosphere that remind them of the eateries they both owned and frequented back in upstate New York.
Though Angela has been in Florida for six years now, and Cassandra for almost three, it’s their Buffalo-inspired cuisine that keeps their loyal customers coming back every day—some even having followed them from the restaurant they owned in Arcadia for a year and a half prior to coming to Punta Gorda.
“We had our first restaurant in Buffalo when Cassandra was 16,” Angela said. “It only had about 20 seats.”
Later, Angela had a seasonal restaurant at Olcott Beach, New York, which was on Lake Ontario, and Cassandra went on to become a customer service trainer with the Internal Revenue Service for about 10 years. Ironically, that experience would prove to be excellent training for her position as Manager and Event Coordinator when her mother moved to Florida and began opening restaurants here.
Their Punta Gorda eatery has a large dining room, seating about 80, but then they also have a lovely patio area, which seats 75 people, as well as a cottage house that can seat 30.
When creating the menu for Angela’s, the dynamic mother-daughter team drew upon the recipes they knew best, many of which came from Angela’s grandmother Rose, whose face is pictured on the “Classic Italian” portion of the menu.
“We tried to bring a Buffalo, New York family restaurant here to Punta Gorda,” Cassandra said. “We focus on food from that area, a lot of which is Italian. But the food is more regional than ethnic, since Buffalo is made of mostly of Italian, Irish and Polish people. I am all of those.”
Besides Grandma Rose’s Italian menu, there is also a special pizza menu, which is in addition to the full menu that is offered every day. On the “Buffalo Menu” there are homecooked classic selections like Chiavetta’s Marinade NY BBQ Dinner, a Thanksgiving Dinner (served every day of the year, Beef on Weck, and Liver and Onions, which Cassandra said is her customers’ favorite dish.
The “From the Grill” portion of the menu features various beef, chicken and seafood selections, and offers about seven different side dishes to accompany the entrees. To complete the Buffalo authenticity, Angela and Cassandra receive twice-weekly deliveries from upstate New York, to ensure everything they serve tastes just as they remember.
In true family restaurant style, Angela’s is “kid-friendly” and very much customer-centric. On Dec. 17, they will even be hosting a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. From 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., children can meet the famous couple and receive a toy and a free meal, as long as mom or dad order a meal, too.
Both Angela and Cassandra say that even though they do accept reservations every day of the year, they will always find a seat for their loyal customers, who come almost every day.
Cassandra said that they have about 30 to 40 regular customers who are like family to them.
“We keep the same staff here every day and our core staff members have been here with us since day one,” she said. “Our servers and bartenders get to know every customer’s name, and we really cater to our local people.”
Angela’s is located at 258 Marion Ave., in Punta Gorda. It’s open Monday, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, from 4 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday, from 4p.m. to 1 a.m. They host all kinds of events, and can even offer custom décor and centerpieces to fit your theme. For more information about menus and upcoming events, like their dance parties, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AngelasPuntaGorda or the website at https://angelas.online. You can also call 941-505-7897.