×

Tupper Lake eatery expands, says ‘thanks’

Amado shows off new courtyard dining area

Lilian, left, and Cory Rohrbach stand in the new courtyard of the outdoor expansion to their restaurant, Amado, which they built during the pandemic. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

TUPPER LAKE — The coronavirus pandemic inspired a sizeable addition at the Amado Restaurant and Cafe on Cliff Avenue, which this week unveiled a new courtyard for dining and events and an expanded capacity to now seat up to 398 people.

An array of open-air dining areas ring a courtyard next to the restaurant, with flowers, stones and a life-size Sasquatch in the middle.

Amado co-owner Cory Rohrbach said the outdoor dining area had a soft opening last week, but Tuesday was his time to thank everyone who made it possible: patrons, architects, politicians, supporters and friends.

“We’ve all had a hell of a year,” Rohrbach said. “This is my way of saying thanks.”

After showing off the new space, he was back in the kitchen cooking up a spread for his guests — risotto, lamb chops and steak.

Amado sous chef Kyle Desrocher cuts meat in the kitchen, preparing dishes for the opening of the restaurant’s outdoor courtyard area. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

The energy in the kitchen was high. He shouted back and forth with sous chef Kyle Desrocher as flames flared from the stoves and knives slashed across cutting boards.

Cody Rolley, a junior at Tupper Lake High School, was plating dishes. He was one of several high school students there learning the ropes of the kitchen.

The restaurant renovation started last year when the COVID-19 pandemic reduced indoor dining capacities by half. With a Business Relief Fund loan from the Franklin County Local Development Corporation, Rohrbach installed three “greenhouses” — outdoor, isolated spaces to eat and talk.

“My wife says that my brain does not work like normal people’s,” Rohrbach said.

He spoke highly of his wife, Lilian Rohrbach, and the inspiration and drive she gives him.

People hang out in the new courtyard at Amado in Tupper Lake on Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

The two met in Brazil. Cory was an executive chef traveling the world, Lilian was an attorney with the state attorney’s office in the city of Sao Paulo.

The Rohrbachs moved to the U.S. in 2013 and to the Adirondacks shortly after. Cory cooked at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid and the Tupper Lake Country Club before opening Amado in 2016.

The couple did a lot of the construction for the expansion themselves — excavating, carpentry, landscaping and stonework.

“It was easy because he had a vision,” Architect Daniel Montroy said of the design.

That vision became clear during the pandemic.

Chef Cory Rohrback cooks for his guests at Amado on Tuesday, where he invited a crowd to see the new outdoor expansion he and his wife Lilian built. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

“Nothing here was ever in the plan before COVID-19,” Cory said.

After seeing the greenhouses become successful, they bought the property next door to the restaurant and started working on renovating the space.

Cory said Montroy helped get the ideas in his head down on paper and on the ground.

Chris White, an architect with Montroy DeMarco Architecture who lives in Jay, said the space they designed is roomy compared to the spaces they usually design for restaurants and offices in New York City. The focus here is on hospitality and hanging out, instead of customer turnover, he said.

The architecture and landscaping have a unique look for the area.

From left, state Assemblyman Billy Jones, Tupper Lake village Mayor Paul Maroun, and Amado co-owners Lilian and Cory Rohrback cut the ribbon on the restaurant’s new outdoor expansion on Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

“I love and have a passion for the ancient Chinese cultures — the large, extended family dwellings,” Rhorbach said. “Enclosed, four sides, all open to a beautiful central landscaped courtyard.”

The courtyard has an aesthetic he describes as “rustic zen.”

Cory said he had local and regional help, naming the Franklin County LDC, Raising the NYS Bar restaurant recovery fund and U.S. Small Business Association.

He said he used COVID restaurant loans to make this happen.

“The whole point of what I understood from all these governmental programs was ‘Set your business up for the future,'” he said. “Coronavirus isn’t over yet … and what’s going to be the next one?”

Cory and Lilian hope the new outdoor space will also be a place to hold weddings and other events.

NEWSLETTER

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today