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How two from South Carolina ended up running The Parkview

June 8, 2017
By Charles Erickson - , Westfield Republican

The November 2012 relocation of David D'Amico and Edward Tkach from Charleston, S.C., to Westfield was not the result of careful socioeconomic analysis. And their purchase of the Parkview Cafe, five months later, did not fulfill a desire to own a restaurant.

"We never expected to be here, doing this," D'Amico said on a recent Saturday morning, sitting at a table shortly before the restaurant opened for lunch. Tkach was in the kitchen, talking to a cook.

When the spouses D'Amico and Tkach flew into Buffalo and headed south on the Thruway, they were making a quick search for a new home. D'Amico was being transferred by Hearst Communications to run a regional office for a multimedia services subsidiary. The white Christmas lights they found along Main Street convinced them that Westfield should be their place of residence.

Article Photos

Photos by Chad Erickson
David D’Amico and his husband, Edward Tkach, moved to Westfield in 2012 so D’Amico could manage a regional office for a multimedia company. D’Amico would later retire from publishing and the spouses purchased the Parkview Cafe, which now operates as The Parkview.

They purchased an old house and set about remodeling it.

D'Amico and Tkach soon became regulars at Beth's Parkview Cafe, and friends with the owner, Beth Powers. Her husband's health problems prompted Powers to startle the newcomers with a question.

"She just randomly said to Ed and I, 'Do you guys want to buy my restaurant?'" D'Amico recalled.

This was how Tkach, long retired from the U.S. Navy, and D'Amico, freshly retired from publishing, entered the foodservice industry at 3 East Main St. in Westfield.

Labor was divided at the threshold to the kitchen.

"He pretty much runs the front of the house and I run the back of the house," D'Amico said. "Ed is very good with people. I mean, people come in here just to see him."

The new owners had planned to continue with the Parkview Cafe's focus on serving muffins, pastries and coffee. But this strategy changed after they gutted the interior and enclosed the kitchen. To the walls were added photographs of old-time Westfield, including those of a bearded and clean-shaven Abraham Lincoln and Grace Bedell, the local requestor that Lincoln grow facial hair.

"The business just morphed into something completely different," D'Amico said. "We all of a sudden started serving full lunches, and then started serving dinners."

Although still legally known as the Parkview Cafe, and the sign over the front door still announces the establishment this way, the eatery is now stylized on menus, business cards and the website as The Parkview.

Breakfasts, once a staple at the cafe, are now served only on Sundays during brunch. Dinners are served Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Beginning next month and continuing through the summer, The Parkview will be open seven days a week.

Reuben and Philly sandwiches, and salads, are popular lunch items, according to the owners, and a typical luncheon costs from $10 to $15.

Steaks and seafood are on the dinner menu, along with vegetarian and gluten-free options. Thursday night is pasta night, and the house marinara sauce uses a recipe from one of D'Amico's grandmothers. Entrees cost from $19 to $28.

D'Amico is from Clarence, outside Buffalo, but was transferred nine times when he worked for Hearst. South Carolina was home before Westfield, and the menu has some Southern influences: chicken and waffles, and shrimp and grits.

Operating a restaurant is a notoriously difficult profession that shares little with running a household kitchen. D'Amico and Tkach have encountered the usual frustrations of food service.

D'Amico said he was never a big grocery shopper, and paid little attention to price when he did visit a market. With the acquisition of The Parkview and the need to buy in bulk from vendors, price became a key consideration.

"I got a very quick lesson in the cost of food," D'Amico said. "The margins are just not like anything I've ever seen before."

During the summer season, there are seven employees. The chef, Courtney Thompson, is from Ripley.

Catering has become an important business segment. D'Amico and Tkach do not set up tables and serve food at private events. Instead, they drop off food or prepare large orders for take-out.

"Tomorrow I have five pounds of chicken salad that'll be picked up," D'Amico said. "We kind of filled a niche that I did not think existed. The catering part of it is substantial."

Customers are served on Currier & Ives lead crystal plates. The initial inventory was procured by a D'Amico grandmother more than 70 years ago when she redeemed S & H Green Stamps. The collection is growing, but not because of a plan. As with the owners' move to Westfield and the purchase of the restaurant, it just happened this way.

"People in town whose grandmothers had these same plates will bring me three or four dishes," D'Amico said. "They'll drop them off and ask that I use them."



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