Legendary Restaurant Owner Honored

February 21, 2011 Updated Feb 21, 2011 at 1:53 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

...
February 21, 2011 Updated Feb 21, 2011 at 1:53 PM EDT

Chef's Restaurant is known for it's delicious food, it's authentic atmosphere and for many who frequent the restaurant, it's late owner Louis Billittier Sr.

Family and friends said he was one of a kind.

"He will never be forgotten. He's irreplaceable," Wife Ann Billittier said.

Those who knew and loved Billittier gathered at Chef's Restaurant to honor him over the weekend. Friends surprised Louis' wife and children with a wood carving of their father.

"I'm speechless. I hope we can live up to the legacy my father left us. He will never be forgotten," Daughter Mary Beth Billittier said.

Billittier's family and friends said he gave back to each of them individually.

"He was the nicest person and best man to work for. He was fair and nice," longtime waitress Shirley Beam said.

They also said he and his family gave back to the community in so many ways.

"How do you give back to people that give so much. You have to do something that you want to be a lasting tribute," friend Mike Muscarella said.

So with the help of the Louis J. Billittier Foundation they decided to have this carving made through "Carving for a Cause". The group takes fallen trees in the area and carves sculptures out of the wood. They then plant another tree in its place.

"I'm speechless, I'm truly speechless. I don't know what to say it's such an honor that people thought of us in this way and think this of my dad. I hope we can live up to his legacy," son Louis Billittier Jr. said.

Carvings for a Cause started after the October snow and ice storm in 2006 when 40,000 trees had to be torn down due to damage.

Now, the Billittier family will chose a location where a new tree will be planted while proudly displaying the carving of a man who they say truly made imprint on Western New York.