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Restaurateur bringing back Main Street site

 After sitting empty for the better part of a decade, a new restaurant is slated to open in the former Ya-Ya Bayou Brewhouse location in downtown's Theatre District.

Jay Haynes, who operates Jay's Hilltop Bistro in Derby and has worked with the likes of Russell Salvatore and McMahon's Steak House, has signed a lease with the city of Buffalo to occupy the 8,300-square-foot Main Street venue.

Haynes said the upscale restaurant, dubbed Perfetto, is expected to open this fall. Perfetto will feature a menu dotted with such items as steaks, seafood and pasta dishes. It will be open for both lunches and dinners.

"I watched what happened in the past, but I feel this is the right restaurant with the right concept," Haynes said. "I expect it will turn heads."

Perfetto will feature two banquet rooms, general seating, a bar featuring 28 different beers on tap and a 1,000 bottle wine cellar.

Haynes said he expects to employ between 40 and 50 people.

"Jay's timing could not be better," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

Since Ya-Ya's closed abruptly in September 2005, downtown has added more than 1,000 residential units and more than 2,000 residents plus a slew of new office tenants. The 600 block of Main Street, where Perfetto's sits, is poised to welcome vehicular traffic next year as part of the "Cars Sharing Main Street" initiative continues to take hold.

"Once traffic comes back (to the 600 block), this property is going to be a very hot commodity," Haynes said.

Perfetto's arrival comes at a time when downtown's central business district is welcoming several new eateries including Dinosaur Barbecue, which is opening next summer on Franklin Street, and Mighty Taco, which opened earlier this month on Chippewa Street.

"Not a week goes by when I'm not hearing or meeting with a businessman who wants to invest in downtown Buffalo," Brown said.

Perfetto is the fourth restaurant to make a go of the site. Breckenridge Brew Pub ran its brewery and restaurant in the building from 1995 to 1998 before Syracuse-based Empire Brewing Co. ran its local operation there from 1999 to 2001 and then Ya-Ya took over the space.

"The difference is having people living in downtown, which we didn't when the last place closed," said Dennis Penman, chairman, Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corp.

Haynes has retained Carmina Wood & Morris to handle the interior design.

The deal was jointly brokered by Paula Blanchard from Realty USA's commercial division and Chris Malachowski from Hunt Commercial Real Estate.

Peter Cammarata, Buffalo Urban Development Corp. president and Wayne Kwiatowski from Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corp. represented the City of Buffalo.

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