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Great City Coffee

Tomorrow marks the first day that restaurateur Mike Andrzejewski will open the doors to his latest foray into the world of Buffalo establishments. Great City Coffee will be the operating business inside the Hotel @ The Lafayette, providing a caffeinated buzz to a space that needed a little bit of an energized boost.

The lobby was designed as a place for people to gather while checking into the hotel, but it was soon clear that visitors to the building were looking for more. “This will now be a place where people can come to hang out, read the paper, relax, use the WiFi and get a cup of coffee,” said Mike. “We’re going to be featuring “illy” coffee, which I’m personally very excited about. I’ve been trying to get that Italian brand to Buffalo for some time now. I talked to McCullagh Coffee and they agreed to work with “illy” as a distributor – a coffee that up until now was not available west of Syracuse (in NYS). You will find “illy” in some of the best restaurants and hotels in NYC, Chicago etc., and it’s the perfect choice for what we’re doing downtown. The lobby of the hotel is already designed as a beautiful café with a full service bar, and soon we’re going to be adding pastries and other things that go great with coffee to the menu (open Mon-Fri for now). Great City Coffee will be a full line coffee shop with espresso, cappuccino, etc.”

A café of this type is needed to create a lively atmosphere for visitors, guests and people who aren’t necessarily looking for the full dining experience but still want to enjoy the beautiful surroundings that the building offers.

Great City Coffee | 391 Washington St, Lafayette Hotel | Buffalo, New York 14203 | (716) 253-6453


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • Rand503

    Now, if they could just bring up the lights in the lobby a bit so that I could actually read a newspaper, it would be perfect!

    And hooray for Lilly — very good coffee.

  • lafayette1985

    I was just saying the other day that the hotel needs a café.  I was almost picturing that a place could use the back half the pan am that is never in use.  The lobby is also a great location and probably the most visible to hotel guests.  Kudos for Great City putting a menu and coupons on every apartments door.  I am excited to try this place out.  It will be nice to be able to grab coffee on my way out to work each day without having to leave my building even.

  • OldFirstWard

    I just bought a can of illy at Wegmans for $12.99.  The grind is as fine as powder.

  • Cam33r4

    I’ve always been a fan of illy — can’t wait to check this place out!

  • manoflamancha

    In a city with a huge deficit of cafes I’m the last one to disparage a new opening – however, Great City Coffee is a terrible name, Illy coffee is way past it’s prime and Vitamin Water and Coke on the menu make me want to not go there. 
    The concept of this cafe looks like it was put together in an hour on a slow night at Tappo and Mike A is factually wrong – Acropolis on Elmwood has been serving Illy for several years. 
    Why not serve Intelligentsia, LAMILL or one of a hundred better coffees than Illy? Why not serve Boylan’s soda and San Pellegrino rather than Coke and Vitamin Water?
    Take a look at some photos of LAMILL in Baltimore, Dark Horse in Toronto, Chinatown Coffee in DC. Copy them. Talk to Dolci about providing your sweets.

  • WesFroebel

    Giancarlo’s at the Walker Center has been serving Illy since they opened almost 2 years ago

  • LouisTully

    manoflamancha re: Dolci sweets??? Why not Butterwood, 73 steps away?

  • lafayette1985

    manoflamancha Tappo never has a slow night….I will agree that the name is pretty meh, if they weren’t going to be creative why not just call it Café @ the Lafayette or something to tie it into the hotel / building.  I would have liked to see something more along the lines of spot, offering food as well as coffee but maybe they didn’t want to compete with the other restaurants right in the building.  Either way, its a welcome addition to the Lafayette.

  • manoflamancha

    Personal preference. Also, Dolci was too good to close down. They should have partnered up.

  • manoflamancha

    lafayette1985 I’m sure they’ve had one slow night! Although, they were packed the few times I was there. 
    We need all the cafes we can get and in spite of my qualms I’m happy to see it opening. I just wish someone would open up my ideal cafe and as an obsessive coffee drinker, Illy isn’t a draw. Too pedestrian. 
    I like Café @ the Lafayette.

  • LLBerger

    I don’t like the name “Great City Coffee”… it lacks panache for being a part of such a high-class jewel as the Lafayette.  Perhaps something paying homage to the great architect?  Bethune Lounge?  Or something more like Lafayette Parlor? It’s a classy place… it deserves a classy name.

  • laldm109

    Not to be a jerk, but Sweetness_7 on Grant serves illy coffee. So, Mike A is not the first in Buffalo to do this. (However, Mike A is awesome, nonetheless – more beautiful restaurants please!)

  • Rand503

    OldFirstWard That’s for turkish coffee.

  • OldFirstWard

    What do you mean for Turkish coffee?

  • Rand503

    OldFirstWard Rand503 If you want to make Turkish coffee (or greek coffee if you are in Greece), you need your coffee ground to the finest grind, which is like powder.  
    You place a few tablespoons in a special copper pot that is wide at the bottom and narrows at the top.   Add water and sugar.  Bring to the boil, and take off heat, and bring to a boil again, take off heat, and the boil again.  Each time it boils, a foam rises to the top of the pot.
    Pour into small handleless cups and enjoy.  it’s an intense strong cup, only a few sips really.  Look it up on youtube how to make it.  But that’s really the only thing you can make with the powder grind.  It’s too fine for the french press, drip or even espresso.

  • chetroia

    Illy has been around long time these are not new concepts. As matter fact I was in Illy Cafe in Miami and had a great shakerato. When can someone in Buffalo make a Caffee shakerato! .  I also was in Milano with my italian girlfriend who lives there it would be nice to get a nice Brioscia in Buffalo. We try to look when were here to when visiting but never have much luck.

  • mjs14214

    Very cool, but fyi, “illy” is the Italian version of Starbucks.  It’s generally (1) not sourced from the best producers, and (2) roasted months ago.

  • jstraubinger

    Glad this is happening. I stayed at the Lafayette in July and August and
    while i really liked the room I was in, i thought the lobby needed
    something “life generating”. I think this is it.

  • lafayette1985

    So first impression day one…..yawn.  I hate to be negative about things but I really am not enthused what what they did.  I was at least expecting them to use up the entire counter on that side of the lobby with some signing.  It looks more like it would just be free coffee sitting out for hotel guests rather than a cafe.  Maybe they will expand but for now it doesn’t really look like a fully fleshed out plan.  The building could use some cheap food options to go alongside the coffee.  Pan Ameican is by no means expensive, but some cheap sandwiches and wraps would be welcomed for those on the go.  Plus side, the coffee was good.

  • OldFirstWard

    Share with us your opinion of what is better and why.

  • mjs14214

    Stumptown and Gimme! are better beans and both are available in Buffalo. The difference is the business model really; ST and G are smaller and can do a lot of single origin beans. Illy does blends, in my experience. And the beans from ST and G are fresher. Gimme! is in Ithaca and ST roasts in NYC. Illy is focused on espresso where freshness and origin are less important.

  • iambobbybenz

    I love everything Mike A does, I just wish he would hire a professional designer *cough* to do his branding, as a designer and foodie, it’s just so upsetting to see him (or any business) cut that corner.