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The Larkin District: Pioneering Perfection

As of tomorrow, the Larkin District will become a destination, not only for business professionals, but for anyone looking for an inspirational getaway within the city of Buffalo. If you’re lucky enough to make it to the district on Tuesday than you’ll be able to experience the opening of Filling Station – the newest restaurant situated in an old gas station island. Surrounding Filling Station are myriad seating areas filled with some of the coolest r&r fixtures to be found just about anywhere. The nearby patio is heated from below in order to extend the outdoor dining season. There’s a spotlight and speaker tower nearby too, so there place is aways wired for a concert, whether scheduled or impromptu. Look a little further and you’ll see an awesome elevated stage as well as a newly installed grill shack. 

Larkin Square features an impressive public pavilion that is nothing like we’ve ever seen – it’s the perfect place to relax and eat your food from Filling Station. There are small blue business kiosks where vendors will be setting up for the summer – last week The Larkin District held a public meeting for The Public Square Marketplace in order to attract merchants looking to set up at one of the stalls starting on June 25. The hope is to have vegetable and fruit vendors right alongside various other merchants and purveyors. The landscaping throughout the complex is beautiful, and draws visitors to different seating areas throughout the district. There are bike stands and funky chaise lounge chairs all around. This could be the greatest outdoor recreational space in the city – and the inside of Filling Station is pretty spectacular as well. The majority of walls are glass, which gives customers a wide-sweeping perspective of the goings-ons around them. 
Even a rainy day is not going to damper the spirits of this place. A true destination has been created in what was once a languishing part of the city. It just goes to show you what an injection of creativity and spirit, drive and conviction can do for a district when people put their minds to it. I’m just happy that all of the investment (people said that it was a long-shot) that went into The Larkin District is paying off for the pioneers who are making it all happen (see more). Here are some of the latest pictures from the marketplace:
If there’s one or two things that this district has, it’s an identity and distinct personality. To think that this is just the beginning…

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • markwebermusic

    It looks so nice, new and cool.

  • markwebermusic

    I thought of one more thing: perhaps it could be called “Larkin Square.”

  • Rancor

    Looks a lot like the South of Market area in San Francisco. Very Cool Buffalo keep up the good work!

  • Rancor

    Looks a lot like the South of Market area in San Francisco. Very Cool Buffalo keep up the good work!

  • hamp

    Quite impressive, love the details, absolutely first rate.
    Could be a good model for Canalside and other parts of the city.

  • grad94

    open only 11-4? guess those of us who have day jobs far, far from larkin will never get to experience the cafe.

  • elias

    maybe that’ll change, show them the demand!!!

  • osirisascending

    Way cool! Plus I’ll be in town later this week scouting locations, so I’ll get to check it out.
    Just what the Larkin District needs! I wonder if they’ll regret going the cheap route on the outdoor tables and chairs though… that particular type never seems to last very long.

  • hamp

    Cheap? Nothing in these pictures looks cheap to me.

  • mshafer71

    Is this going to be patrolled by security throughout the night? If not, expect graffiti, property damage and theft.

  • 16thStreet

    Is this really happening in Buffalo? Really?
    Can we have who ever is doing this please run for mayor or somthing!? Look at the quality and thought put into this space. Really cool.

  • elias

    btw, anyone know what the timetable is on the installation of center of commerce signage?? what a difference that would make too!!!

  • ladyinwhite

    The best part of these pictures are the masses of well heeled people!

  • 300miles

    Considering that it hasn’t even opened yet, I think it’s a little early for the sarcasm.

  • townline

    Looks great. Nice choice with the “filling station” signage.

  • EB_Blue

    The Larkin District is one of the safest neighborhoods in the region.


    And don’t be surprised if you are murdered once you cross the city line.

  • LouisTully

    There she is! Happy Memorial Day! I’m so glad others died so you could have the freedom to be a sarcastic prick.
    Again, your contribution to the progress of mankind is fantastic.

  • impressingagent

    it needs a flag between both pavilion sections.

  • DTK2OD

    It’s great to see a district develop a thoughtful and articulate master plan that is both realistic and attainable. All that’s needed now is residential. Larkin has one of the strongest brands in the city.

  • impressingagent

    the bbq pit looks great.

  • costrander08

    Glad to see this finished up, can’t wait for some more residential opportunities to open up in the area. Larkin District is top on my list to move to.
    I’m really disappointed with the sign choice they made for the Filling Station. They could have gone with something with a bit more character and that made a better statement in terms of size, in my opinion.
    Still, keep up the great work! It is amazing to see the incredible progress that can be made when there is no one whining or trying to put a stop to projects.

  • sonyactivision

    The pictures just add to the bright, cheery nature of this transformed space. Very well done!

  • The Boss

    This is pretty “out of the box” for Buffalo and it is so overdue. Sleek and modern, bright and built to celebtrate sunny weather, is this California?

  • Lorne

    Best tagline, IMO, to reflect how beautifully progressive and forward thinking the Larkin District is: “This is not your father’s Buffalo any longer.”

  • grad94

    i’d be curious to know how am i supposed to do that if i work 8 miles away, have only a half hour for lunch, and travel by bike?

  • majove

    I used to take my car there for repairs! I’ve been watching this project almost daily. It’s been exciting to see this happening. Absolutely remarkable job!

  • lenlam

    WOW!!! WOW!!! Quite a change from when I worked in the Larkin building in the 70’s. Excellent! Great!!

  • buffaloroam

    take a day off.

  • 300miles


  • elmdog

    Looks amazing……..I agree, Canalside could take some advice from this…And it will since Howard Zemsky is now a part of the overall progress…Cant wait

  • JSmith

    This looks really great. Howard Zemsky and the rest of the Larkin District folks have really shown great leadership at improving their corner of the city.
    I wish we could have more of this kind of thing downtown, and in other dense urban areas of the city. As it is, this will serve mainly employees of the Larkin at Exchange building, and the area doesn’t really have the residential density to make it a real town square.
    My one regret about the way Buffalo was laid out is that there are very few pedestrian-oriented public plazas and squares. All of our parks tend to be naturalistic grass and trees, without many constructed public spaces like you frequently see in European cities. Even places like Lafayette Square have, in my view, too much lawn, and not enough space to put tables and chairs for lunches, chess games, etc.
    We can’t do much to change Buffalo’s street pattern now, but I hope the city will consider establishing some nice public areas (paved with stone rather than grassy) in dense areas of the city where we have lost corner lots through demolition, etc. It’s kind of a shame that the best example so far has had to come through a private company for the benefit of its employees, when really, this is exactly the sort of the thing the city should be constructing for the benefit of all its citizens.

  • Jesse

    I think they’ll survive or not based on the gigantic frigging office buildings next door and not some guy riding his bike and being all urban and local.
    The places within half-hour-lunch-biking-distance of your current job probably appreciate your business.
    Quite whining.

  • ladyinwhite

    Again, Thank you. Nice though to use fallen war hero’s to slam someone. Do you ever think before hitting send? I don’t, but would of assumed someone as inteligent as you would have. xo

  • Dagner

    No, but we do have enough “districts”. Keep it Larkinville.

  • Tim

    Are you really a female? Because I think that is awesome!

  • emslieclinton

    Mary and I just returned from having lunch at the “Filling Station”. (I recommend the roasted beat salad with creamy goat cheese but everything looked good). The service was excellent and the ambiance from the dinning room to the bathrooms was a perfect fit with the name. Hard to believe that twenty years ago I stood in that building while our car was being worked on. Intelligent re-use. And check out the summer concert series. Way cool.

  • grad94

    why is it whining to point out that some of us will not be able to spend money there?

  • grad94

    i’ve been arguing pretty much the same thing for a while now. we’ve been putting nature band-aids everywhere instead of studying what kind of design actually turns vacant lots into viable and vibrant public spaces.
    cheaper to just lay sod, plant junipers, cover with mulch, and pat yourself on the back for providing some sacred ‘green space.’

  • Travelrrr
  • Polonia

    Besides the people who say “WOW looks great, great for the district” everyone here is f*cking insane. Re-evaluate yourselves because you are confused spoiled brats.

  • dmkbills11

    I think you might think they are cheap because they are colorful and hence look plastic? I have sat in them, all metal, just painted colorfully. They are heavy metal and aren’t going anywhere, although I can see the confusion!

  • elias

    you know what grad94, i was about to respond to your first response about how to show demand given your set of daily circumstances, but then you added that you (i’m assuming) and others may not be able to afford the prices, which makes me responding to your first response a moot point…theres always mighty taco and chinese take out, i suppose… but since i respect your first question, here’s my response:
    write them a letter (they’re old fashioned like that) and tell them that you would like to share in this experience. if it’s possible at some point, expand their hours of operation to accomodate the many people (yourself included) who would love to spend a little hard earned cash there, but cannot due to the limited hours. i think they would love the feedback…or if you’re feeling 21st century-like, check them out on a social website, drop them a note stating the same, and maybe others would follow suit…they won’t know you want to be a part of it unless you let them know.

  • dmkbills11

    It is! Well part of it will be called Larkin Square, so you are right! Smart minds think alike, the area with the blue huts and future vendors and food shops will be the unofficial Larkin Square area.

  • sonyactivision

    LOL too many ‘bath salts’ today?

  • l.hw.chan

    It really is awesome I love coming to work everyday and enjoying this during my lunch break.
    From what I read in the comments:
    The filing station is obviously very new and targetting people that work in Larkin district so their hours from 11-4pm is reasonable
    And Cheap(?) one of those orange “daybeds” are $3000+..there are three of them

  • BuffaloQPublic

    Flavor personified!Mega compliments!