Chautauqua’s newest restaurant is truly a family affair.
Burke Lindquist is the owner and executive chef at La Familia. His brother, Josh, is the front of the house manager, their cousins are servers, their aunt’s photos appear on the walls of the restaurant and they work across the street from their mother, Laurie, who is postmaster of the Chautauqua post office.
“The reason we went with [the name] ‘La Familia’ is because we have so much family working on this,” Lindquist said.
The restaurant is located underneath the St. Elmo, 1 North Pratt, and opened June 3. The restaurant, which seats 160 people, is focused on the “three F’s, which is family, food and farms,” Lindquist said.
“We use a lot of fresh oils and herbs in our cooking,” he said. “We’re a fresh, clean style. [There’s] not a lot of frying in our menu. … When a lot of people ask me ingredients, it’s not really hard to come by because it’s not one of those things where I have to go look at packages because most of it’s all fresh.”
Local and sustainable ingredients are important to the restaurant, Lindquist said. According to the restaurant’s website, all seafood is “American fleet caught or either Marine Stewardship Council certified sustainable or Aquaculture Stewardship Council Certified, Best Aquaculture Practices certified.”
“We are very strict about the products we bring in,” Lindquist said. “We have a focus on our fresh seafood. … We’re very high-quality in our products and we pair that with fresh ingredients from around here that we can pick up from the local farms or local produce companies.”
La Familia is open for dinner Sunday through Thursday, 4 to 9 p.m., and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Lunch is served everyday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., except for Sunday, when brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Lunch is buffet-style and costs $18. Customers can also order salads off the menu, Josh Lindquist said.
“[Serving lunch as a buffet is] basically catering to the lecture series,” he said. “They can come in, get really good food, sit down in a nice comfortable atmosphere without having to stand in line for a sandwich.”
Brunch is split into two shifts on Sundays. Breakfast food is served from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and it costs $18. From 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., lunch dishes are also available and it costs $30.
The restaurant’s signature dish, Lindquist said, is the Mediterranean seafood stew, which is served on the buffet as well as for $12.
“It’s a spicy tomato [and] fennel broth, and then we change the seafood that goes in it all the time to change the complexity and flavors of the dish,” he said. “People are coming in the buffet a lot just for that. … It’s taken off more than we thought because selling soup in the summer isn’t an easy thing to do around these parts.”
On the current menu, dinner entrees range from $26 to $38. Appetizers, soups, salads and sides range from $8 to $12. A children’s menu, dessert, beer and wine are also available.
Lindquist said his business partner, Robert Cross, offers off-site catering with 3C’s Catering. La Familia can provide on-site catering and events in its space, something the restaurant is looking to in the off-season instead of being open full-time.
The restaurant doesn’t take reservations but customers can call ahead at 716-357-2002 to best accommodate their party if needed.
“We’re looking to build a strong clientele as well as have the people that are coming for one nice meal a week while they’re here on the grounds,” Lindquist said. “I’d want [people] to know that this is a place they can come for nice, intimate atmosphere and really good food.”