Fred Daniel is at it again. Over the years Freddie has had a hand in a number of barbecue ventures, sometimes on his own and also with others. We've seen him on Plymouth
, Main Street
and Grant Street
, but while he's had a good run with one venture, had a hand in another and has never been afraid to lend a helpful hand to others, Freddie always told me that he was on the hunt for his dream business... and I believe that he has finally found it. Freddie is in the process of opening a small barbecue restaurant in the former Cuchifrito Hut (195 Grant Street). And that's just the beginning. Chef has teamed up with architect Kathleen Kinan who owns the hut, as well as the house next door. Kathy is in the process of putting her artistic mark on the hut, which will open as (Freddie J's) The Hut on December 2.
The Hut will only seat eight customers at a time, which might be a bit small, but the story doesn't end here... it just begins. There are a number of opportunities for Fred to grow the barbecue business at this location (more news to come), which he is currently pursuing. One of those opportunities involves creating a patio dining experience in the vacant driveway parcel adjoining the building. Fred has the ability to create a lively outdoor atmosphere that plays off the funky new look of The Hut - a building that has never quite lifted the spirits of Grant Street, but now has an opportunity to play a vibrant role in the rebirth of the neighborhood.
It's a small barbecue compound that will make a big splash on Grant Street. A fairly jacked up building will be restored and beautified with non-traditional motifs. A dead driveway will come to life with seating, greenery, people and barbecue fare. "I'll have easy access to Lorigo's The Meating Place and Guercio's," Freddie told me. "Plus I'm next door to West Side Stories and across the way from Sweet_ness 7 and B. Ferrante's bakery... could it get any better than this? I've seen what Mark Goldman has done on Amherst Street and it's inspiring. There is so much potential on Grant Street, and we have something very unique here... with room to grow!"
Freddie and Kathy have the ability to do something truly special on Grant Street, and Freddie knows it. I could sense Freddie's excitement as he described the new (ad)venture that he is embarking upon. I've known Chef for a long time now... close to 20 years... and in that time I've watched him grow as a person, a businessman and a friend. I have seen him follow his dream by working his way up the ladder - exploring the city and its possibilities. Since the beginning I always knew that he would eventually find the perfect fit for his passion. I believe that Freddie has finally found a project that he can truly call his own. A restaurant where he won't have to settle, in a highly visible location, where he can be a part of an even larger transformation. Finally Freddie has a project in front of him that offers him the ability to grow and prove to himself, and Buffalo, that when you take the right person and the right place, a winning formula is not only possible, it's destiny.