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Hamburg’s Coyote Cafe celebrates 20 years

HOWL AT THE MOON — The Coyote Cafe celebrated its 20th anniversary on Aug. 23. Photo by Alicia Greco.

HAMBURG — The walls were painted bright shades of blue, yellow, orange and green and authentic Mexican music played from the speakers of the Coyote Cafe. This Hamburg business celebrated its 20-year anniversary on Aug. 23.

Jeff Govino, a native of Angola, is the sole owner, who helped start the restaurant in 1993 with his mother, family and friends.

The cafe is housed in a building that was originally a 1,500-square-foot banquet hall. In 2007, Coyote Cafe expanded, after Govino purchased the building next door.

Since its inception, the restaurant has been constantly evolving, Govino said, as he has been building, rearranging and finding new ways to improve the establishment.

The restaurant business has been a long-time family tradition. “You know Grandma Mora’s? That’s my grandmother,” the business owner said, about Grandma Mora’s, a Mexican restaurant on Hertel Avenue in the city of Buffalo.

Govino said that he has not always aspired to be a restaurant owner. “When I was 16, I wanted to be a professional race car driver,” he said. Now, he is focused on Coyote Cafe.

“It’s been getting better and better ... this will be the best year yet,” he said.

Govino had opened a Coyote Cafe Mexican Express nine years ago, in East Aurora. That restaurant, which is now closed, was similar to Moe’s Southwest Grill or Chipotle Mexican Grill, where customers travel down a line, picking and choosing the ingredients for their meal. Govino said that the idea came to him before it became a food trend.

Coyote Cafe is a sit-down restaurant staffed by 25 – 30 employees; it offers a variety of types of Mexican dishes. Also on the menu is a side dish that Govino created himself: Mexican potatoes.

The restaurant features happy hour specials, in addition to live music performances and karaoke nights.

Govino said that he will keep changing things, in a stated goal of continuously improving the quality of food and service.

The Coyote Cafe is located at 36 Main St. in Hamburg. To see the menu, event listings or, for more information, visit www.thecoyotecafe.com.
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