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Revelry owners plan Bushnell's Basin eatery

Rochester Business Journal
July 18, 2014

Twelve months after opening his first restaurant in Rochester, and nearly that long since becoming director of food and beverage at the Strathallan hotel, Joshua Miles is on the doorstep of launching new restaurants in Bushnell’s Basin and Buffalo.

Branca, an Italian-themed casual restaurant, is expected to open in mid-August at the former Great Northern Pizza Kitchen on Route 96. It will employ 30 people, Miles said.

Blood & Sand, featuring seasonal foods, is planned to open at the end of July on Franklin Street in downtown Buffalo.

Miles and his wife, Jenna, opened the Revelry at 1290 University Ave. in June 2013. He was named to the post at the Strathallan, a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, less than eight weeks later.

“When we opened the Revelry and took over this place,” Joshua said this week at the Strathallan, “our next move was to go into the suburbs. Real estate drives your ability to move into the suburbs, and we didn’t want to take a piece of land and build up a new restaurant. We wanted to modify an existing space.”

The Mileses found an ideal spot at 683 Route 96, the former home of the Bushnell’s Basin Fire Department. They are spending more than $500,000 on renovations.

“We saw a need in the suburban environment for something that wasn’t big box and wasn’t fast casual, something kind of in the middle,” Joshua said. “We’re looking to be that neighborhood place that people can come to multiple times a week, with a lower price point and a very comfortable, casual feel.”

Branca is Italian for branch.

“And this is the next branch of our establishment,” he said. “It is also the last name of a liqueur we use a lot of at the Revelry called Fernet Branca.”

Chef Pasquale Sorrentino, a native of Italy who moved to Rochester in 2003, will use a wood-fired oven to make Neapolitan-style pizza. Sorrentino formerly worked for Wegmans Food Markets Inc. and Restaurant 2 Vine.

He is certified with the American delegation of the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, an international non-profit organization founded in the 1980s by Naples, Italy, pizza makers to cultivate the culinary art of making Neapolitan pizza.

Branca will be New York’s first VPN-certified restaurant outside Manhattan, Joshua said. It will have homemade pastas, salads, panini for lunch, Italian wines and cocktails. Its meats will be cured on-site, he said.

“Italian is something we’re very passionate about,” he said. “It’s a cuisine, a wine and a way of life that we’ve always studied and enjoyed.”

Joshua and Jenna Miles are the majority partners for Branca. The consortium of investors includes Tyler Wolk, Alicia Wolk, Fred Rainaldi Jr., Kristen Spychalski, Roxanne Lowenguth, Thomas Zahavi and Maryann Lester.

Blood & Stone in Buffalo will be similar to the Revelry but shaped to the tastes of its operating partner, Jon Karel, and chef Edward Forster. Karel, a Buffalo native, is bar manager at the Revelry. Forster is executive chef.

“The impetus to us moving into the Buffalo market is the fact that Jon is from there,” Joshua said. “Our goal was always to go back to that environment. It was, once again, driven by real estate.

“We found a beautiful building that was built in the 1800s, three stories. It was a restaurant at one point. It wasn’t on the market, but somebody heard we were looking for real estate and it became available, so we bought it.”

The building was home to Laughlin’s, a bistro and bar, until closing recently.

Blood & Sand was named by Karel for the Rudolph Valentino silent film made in 1922, in which a cocktail of that name was served.

“Blood & Sand is driven by the bar,” Jenna said. “The bar is beautiful, and with Jon’s background and his following in Buffalo, our primary focus was creating a restaurant with a beautiful and a very intense bar program.

“The cuisine is driven by the seasons. It’s focused on ingredients. The format is divided into smaller plates to share and then very large dishes for people to share. It’s about creating a sense of community through dining and drinking.”

The Revelry, meanwhile, has exceeded expectations since opening June 14, 2013.

“The Revelry is doing really well,” Jenna said. “It’s been an amazing year. We’ve been fortunate to achieve the success we’ve achieved, but we’ve also worked really hard for it. We’re there all the time, and we have a great team.”

Jenna, 29, is a native of Holley, Orleans County.

Joshua, 33, was born and raised in Greenville, S.C. He came to Rochester in 2009 to be assistant general manager of the Next Door Bar and Grill Wegmans, and he was its general manager from September 2011 to February 2012.

He previously had been general manager of the Jasmine Porch restaurant at the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.

Joshua was vice president of sales for Payment Processing Consultants Inc. in Pittsford for 10 months before opening the Revelry.

The Revelry is owned and operated by SCN Hospitality LLC, a hospitality management firm created by the couple along with private investors.

“Before we opened the Revelry, there was a period of time where we were trying to figure out what our next step was and where we were going to take that next step,” Jenna said. “We were ready to move back to Charleston to open a restaurant there.

“We decided, after speaking with some really close friends, that Rochester was the place for us to pursue this dream of opening a restaurant. Opportunities have come our way. The real estate has been right. We are integrated fully into Rochester. We love this town; we believe in it. There’s a lot of growth going on in the city, and we’re excited to be part of that.”

7/18/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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