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On the Line: Chefs Chris Gibney and Rick Pohlman

This chef team operates Rick's on Main in East Aurora.

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Chris Gibney (left)
Current restaurant: Rick’s on Main, 687 Main Street, East Aurora
Years in current job: Six
Title: Co-head Chef
Years in the business: Thirty

Rick Pohlman (right)
Current restaurant: Rick’s on Main, 687 Main Street, East Aurora
Years in current job: Six
Title: Co-head Chef
Years in the business: Twenty-eight


In just six short years, Rick’s on Main has earned the cachet most restaurants struggle for decades to earn. Reviewers gush, employees are fiercely loyal, patrons from all over the area come back again and again bringing their friends, and the locals will tell you that in the three-block area of East Aurora’s uptown, Rick’s on Main stands out from the other eleven restaurants within an easy walk. If you want a top-tier meal chosen from an inspired, seasonally changing menu, or if you want to linger at an upscale bar to watch a game while enjoying some appetizers and cocktails, Rick’s is an easy choice.

Such success doesn’t come without many hours of hard work. Pohlman, who attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) recalls his career path: “Oliver’s,” he says, “is sort of the breeding ground for many of the restaurant people in the area. I started at fifteen at Shore’s Orchard Downs, washing dishes, but I’ve worked at Oliver’s and Hutch’s, and then Siena. Chris worked at Oliver’s with me.”

Gibney boasts a thirty-year resumé that also includes an education at CIA, and time behind the stove at Oliver’s and Hutch’s, the East Aurora Country Club, and the old Flying Tigers out by the airport.

For both chefs, Rick’s on Main occupies their lives, mind, body, and soul. They love watching the seasons change and accommodating the tastes of their clientele: fish and salad in the summer, beef and pasta in the winter. They see the whole notion of shared plates growing, and they notice that people are ever more conscious of what they eat.

Most of all, they love the family they’ve created in their restaurant. “You’re only as good as the people around you,” says Pohlman, “and we’ve got the best—in the kitchen, up front, serving—great teamwork.        



 Rick Ohler’s Fourth Annual Travel Writing & Photography Bus Trip to Wyoming County takes place May 5. Find him on Facebook.

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