Iskalo Development Corp. has signed a lease with renowned restaurateur Jim Guarino for the former Howard Shoes Building at 5 East Huron Street. The Guarino’s will open a seafood restaurant named ‘Oshun’ which is targeted to open in spring 2014.
Jim, along with his son, Jimmy, are the owners of the popular Shango New Orleans Bistro & Wine Bar, located on Main Street near the University of Buffalo Campus, which the two have operated for the past eight years. Now, the well-known restaurant family will be expanding their restaurant presence to downtown Buffalo. Oshun, under Jimmy’s culinary expertise, will serve an upscale cuisine specializing in seafood dishes.
“Oshun will be the first restaurant in Buffalo to offer a fresh, raw seafood bar, where diners can shuck oysters, clams and mussels – much like what can be seen in Toronto right now,” says Jim Sr. “Oshun’s dinner and lunch menus will be totally unique compared to any other restaurant in Buffalo, including Shango.”
In addition to high quality food, Oshun will feature a lively, classy bar, an open kitchen for diners to view, and a private dining area. As for the timing of the Guarino’s entry to the downtown restaurant scene, Jim Sr. stated, “Downtown is experiencing a resurgence and positive energy that we wanted to be a part of and contribute to.”
This announcement serves as further evidence of the continued emergence of the Electric District downtown which began with Iskalo Development’s re-opening of the fully renovated historic Electric Tower, site of the annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. Most recently, Tappo Restaurant opened on 338 Ellicott Street in the former Horton Coffee building, and the founders of Big Ditch Brewing announced that they intend to locate their production brewery at Iskalo Development’s 337 Ellicott Street. Big Ditch Brewery will also include a tasting room open to the public.
“We are pleased to contribute to the resurgence of the City of Buffalo through our investment in the Electric District,” stated Paul B. Iskalo, President and CEO of Iskalo Development. “The selection of 5 East Huron by the well-respected Guarino family for Oshun, which follows the recent announcement by Big Ditch Brewing that it will locate its brewery operations just a block away, is further evidence of the growing momentum of this downtown neighborhood.”
The opening of Oshun will bring 5 East Huron back to its historic roots, as it was originally constructed in 1946 as a restaurant named the Waldorf Lunch, a popular lunch counter restaurant chain founded in 1904. The building was later occupied for many years by the memorable Howard Shoes. Iskalo Development then took ownership of the building completing a full restoration to bring 5 East Huron back to its original luster. Oshun will showcase the building’s highly distinctive terrazzo floors and ornate wall frescos (photo above), original to the mid-century, Art Deco style building.
Iskalo Development Corp. is a full-service real estate investment and development company headquartered in Williamsville, specializing in corporate and medical office, light industrial, retail, hospitality and mixed-use projects, located throughout Western New York.