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Termini Plans Genesee Street Restaurant

After a three-project hiatus in North Buffalo, Rocco Termini is heading back downtown for his next project – a restaurant utilizing cargo containers for a small parcel at 128 Genesee Street.   It not only marks a return to downtown for Termini, the project is also located on the same block where his first downtown projects– Ellicott Lofts, Ellicott Commons and IS Lofts – are located.

Termini purchased the vacant property from the City in October for $2,000.  Like nearby Tappo Restaurant on Ellicott Street, the Genesee Street venue will be run by Mike Andrzejewski.


128 Genesee_view

Preliminary plans call for the restaurant to have two stories with a second-level patio overlooking Genesee Street and sidewalk seating.  Dining is expected to be fast/casual serving gourmet, flame charred hot dogs and other grilled items.

The new restaurant is at the edge of the Theater and Chippewa districts, just two blocks from Main Street and a short walk from several downtown residential projects.  It is also located across from Genesee Gateway and the Catholic Health Administrative Center now under construction at Genesee and Oak streets.  City plans for streetscape work along Genesee Street have been delayed but are said to still be alive.

BMS Design and Schenne & Associates are designing the project.  If approved by the Planning Board this week, the restaurant is expected to be open this summer.

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • Stateofmind

    I hope that Scherer sign never goes away–that is rich.

  • OldFirstWard

    It looks like the Star Trek space shuttle has landed here.  Initially I don’t like it. Though it may take some time getting used to seeing.  I think it compromises the historic fabric of the area.  Quite frankly it is ugly.  This development is an embarrassment coming from a such a prominent developer as Rocco Termini.
    Here we have a unique opportunity to recreate a lost building with an infill that I think everyone would have loved.  Or at least something a little more appropriate.  Rocco has done some fantastic restorations on vacant and dilapidated buildings in our city, so I suppose that gives him a carte blanche free pass.  But it still leaves me wondering whatever happened to protecting a historic district from bad development or the use of inappropriate building materials and designs?  
    I also would bet that the Scherer building is soon to be developed.

  • GotAnyChange

    Personally I’m not a fan of the shipping container fad but this looks fine to me. Not everything needs to be matchy matchy. Contrast is what makes cities interesting.
    I trust the execution will be good.

  • BuffaloItalianGuy

    There was no mention of the 24 hour homeless drop-in center located next door to the site of this proposed restaurant.
    Harbor House is a drop-in center serving local homeless who have a Mental Health Diagnosis and/or Substance Abuse Disorder.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Scherers still open? How about a clean up/renovation of the building? Let’s open up those windows it’s not the 1980s anymore.
    Funny little plot of land…you can prolly only fit a shipping container..neighborhoods a little rough…look for more little developments like this when Catholic health opens up.

  • rocco is investing on genesee and building new. meanwhile, a few blocks away, we’re tearing stuff own because, after all, no one could ever possibly want to invest in genesee st.

    absolutely infuriating.

  • greenca

    The Scherer Building is still occupied by Scherer’s Furniture. It’s been in business for 115 years. It stayed in this location through the years when this area was a war zone.  I believe the entire building is occupied by them for showroom/storage. But yes, as BfloAllAstar suggets, having woindows in their building would go a long way to improving the look.

  • laldm109

    BuffaloAllStar Ironically, yes, Scherers is still open. You would never know it from their building, though.

  • laldm109

    BuffaloItalianGuy In a real city, all types of people live side by side. If you don’t like, don’t go to the restaurant. As property values increase in this area, eventually the homeless center will probably move, for better or worse.

  • Davvid

    Its nice to see a Buffalo developer doing something (relatively) different.

  • GotAnyChange  
    i’m intrigued by the use of shipping containers.  not going to reject them out of hand.  but i wish the upper level didn’t have those tunnel-like side walls, as though the customers need to be shielded from the rest of the neighborhood.

  • townline

    Creative infill. Very cool. We need to get the out of town developer that owns most of the rest of the buildings on this block to shit or get off the pot. If anywhere downtown has the makings of a vibrant, mixed use neighborhood, this is it. But it can’t really happen with that jerk holding out his code-violating buildings.

  • An awesome idea, love this concept, see how fast and efficient the project will become a reality! 
    This new coolness will add to the exciting mix in that section,  very impressive!

  • OldFirstWard

    I just don’t believe we need to be mixing 19th century brick buildings with second story dumpsters.  
    Maybe they should put a few on the Elmwood strip and see how it goes over.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    laldm109 BuffaloItalianGuy
    Bingo, there’s the first self-righteous “in a real city” comment I’ve heard in a while. Also, you’re wrong. You will never see a new restaurant opening next to a homeless shelter in cities like DC, Orlando, Raleigh, Charlotte, Richmond or Philly.

  • OldFirstWard

    I noticed that.  I first started to see piles of dirt fill dumped there and wondered what was going on.  Then last week a city crew was at the Jefferson – Genesee intersection prying the cover off the water shutoff and digging across the street from the building.  Finally on Friday the fencing was up and an excavator was on site confirming the obvious.

  • 5to81allday


  • greenca

    Specifically, what codes do you think the owner is violating?  
    No out of town developers own the neighboring  buildings.  The same family has owned them for over a century.  Yes, the exterior looks unattractive, but they use that (very low overhead) to offer good quality furniture at a decent price.  Generations of Buffalonians have bought furniture from them.  I cut them some some slack because of that.

  • tjhorner1

    BeardedBuffalonian You would be incorrect in your statement of “You will never see a new restaurant opening next to a homeless shelter in cities like DC, Orlando, Raleigh, Charlotte, Richmond or Philly”
    Prior to moving back to Buffalo 2 years ago, I spent 12 years in Charlotte, and 3 in Chicago.  In Charlotte, I bought a new construction condo in uptown (downtown) Charlotte, that was built next to one of the city’s homeless shelters.   This was in 2007.  The condo building sold out before construction finished.  Today, the condos are successful, and are appreciating in value. The homeless shelter is still there, and there have been no problems.  
    Also, a burger bar opened up next to a different homeless shelter in Charlotte….the burger bar still remains..and this homeless shelter did decide to relocate, cashing out of their property for a nice return.
    I can’t speak to DC, Orlando, Raleigh, Richmond or Philly, but I’d guess that if you ask someone who lives there, you’ll hear stories that are similar to mine.  
    Sorry for the rant…it just bothers me when people spout things off as fact, without actually knowing the truth.  
    In any event, exciting news from Rocco Termini.  Excited to see another restaurant popping up downtown!  Love the concept.  I would guess that if the city were to advertise land that they own downtown, and list a price of less than $10k (this one went for $2k), they would have more people interested in developing our downtown.  $2k is a steal for any piece of property downtown, large or small….

  • elmdog

    great idea and quick turnaround…The second floor patio/deck is amazing…I think Rocco Is amazing, but the ideas are ground breaking..He is taking the risk but all one would have to do is look at any of the cool trendy cities and these things are being done.  He is doing exactly what any smart risk taking developer would do…

  • OldFirstWard

    I was thinking the same thing.  They are a family owned and operated store and have been in business at the same location since March 1, 1897.  They specialize in American made furniture and offer free delivery.  That counts for something in my book.

  • GotAnyChange

    I read on curbedNY that you can’t cut large holes on the side of the containers without compromising the strength of the structure, so maybe that had something to so with it. It’s only a view of a rooftop anyways.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Indeed infuriating..but I will say..that particular stretch was one of the most dilapated building I have seen in a really long time.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Hey homeless people have to eat too…wait..

  • needIes

    Brings me back to the Dekalb Market in Brooklyn, which was right around the corner from my apartment. it was dismantled for a high-rise before the 2013 season, but I’m sure neither making it or deconstructing it was at any great expense. I think most of the vendors disbursed to Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg events etc.  This was an amazing place to spend a Saturday…
    Link to all pics:

  • BuffaloAllStar

    I thought soo…we’ve got grant money for just about everything now a days..nothing for these folks for sticking around around thru some of the worst times in Buffalo history?  Windows and sign restoration…thats all I ask.
    Very awesome retro sign…lets hope its restored some day, heres to Rocco hopefully giving them a slight push in the right direction.

  • BuffaloAllStar

    Hopefully the 2nd floor patio isn’t exactly like Tappo…I’d like to get a seat here ..

  • LouisTully

    OldFirstWard greencaI didn’t even realize it was active.
    No painted brick comment? 
    I like the furniture store with bricked over window theme.  It’s like they don’t want you to see the furniture in natural light.

  • ExWNYer

    There are a couple of these shipping container re-use buildings out here in San Francisco. I’ve seen offices and retail made up of them. It is a pretty interesting concept. A large portion of the America’s Cup pavilion was made of that. It can go up very and be taken down very quickly.

  • LouisTully

    Shipping containers to me scream Forward Operating Base.  Creative use of materials; but I’m fine with sticking to trans-ocean shipping and jingle trucks for these containers.

  • No_Illusions

    grad94 GotAnyChange 
    How is this any different from having a canopy?

  • GotAnyChange

    I get the low overhead thing, but it can’t help their business when it looks like its been shuttered for years. I’m picturing windows with a killer 4 floor furniture showroom to really being people in.

  • HP MegaVeg

    OldFirstWard  It looks perfectly appropriate to me. No need to “re-create” anything. I thinks this is good, creative in-fill, and makes for a vibrant streetscape.

  • BeardedBuffalonian

    My unit setup FOB Ripley in Afghanistan back in 2004. #SemperFi

  • GotAnyChange  
    if it is true, any structural engineer could design appropriate reinforcements.

  • No_Illusions
    canopies don’t block side views.

  • LouisTully

    BeardedBuffalonian LouisTully  Where was Ripley?  There were nearly zero Marines the entire 15 months I was in OEF.  Focused in OIF, I’d imagine.  Passed them in Kryzgstan on our way out.  I was probably weary from 15 months anyway but, God, those guys were amped.

  • townline

    Not scherer. The buildings fronting Elliott and Oak on that same block under “Buffalo Properties Ltd.” for one, they have occupied buildings with boarded up windows at Maureen’s – who leases her space. There isn’t a more obvious violation in plain view from the street. If you walk around them, you can find a number others.

  • Spock1

    “self-righteous “in a real city” comment…” [followed immediately by] “You will never see a new restaurant opening next to a
    homeless shelter in cities like DC, Orlando, Raleigh, Charlotte,
    Richmond or Philly.”
    I agree that lad’s “real city” remark sounds self-righteous.  But aren’t you guilty of the same thing by rattling off the above cities that somehow fit into the “real city” category?

  • bfranklin

    greenca townline  Agreed.  Riding the old elevator floor to floor is …. interesting.  Not your average Sheridan Drive experience. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Sheridan…..)

  • mike81

    I dig it.  Love how these containers got incorporated into an entire shopping/restaurant destination in Shoreditch, London…They did a great job with it.

  • mike81
  • rockpile38

    BuffaloAllStar I drive up and down this area of Jefferson Ave.& East Side and see a lot of potential, unfortunately this was a big part of that potential, but I will say that it was maybe to far gone to be saved, meaning , yes it technically could’ve been saved but who is going to spend the $ just to stabilize the entire complex?  This would have been a great building for shopping! I hope Genesee, Jefferson, Broadway etc. can be reinvented to be vibrant city neighborhoods again but I highly doubt it because they continue to tear down buildings like these and either the land is left vacant or vinyl sided crap housing goes up in it’s place which is a real shame, number one for the long time residents of the neighborhoods but for everyone because it would  be beyond awesome to go up and down these streets shopping, eating, going to events, museums, shows[theatre etc.] , and enjoying all the great Architecture, the various homes, churches, commercial & industrial buildings which are dwindling by the day!

  • JayDBuffalo

    Buffalo News says he’s going to call the place “Dog E Style.”
    I dont know what to think of that

  • laldm109

    Spock1 I actually wasn’t trying to imply that Buffalo isn’t a “real city”. It absolutely is. I live here too, and I enjoy it for its messy urban-ness. My point was that people should stop getting offended when they are expected to live or eat next to someone of a different class. If they don’t want to go there, they don’t have to, but that kind of messy interaction is what makes cities work, Buffalo or any other. I really wouldn’t expect many problems. Homeless people are scary to people that aren’t used to seeing them, but in reality they are mostly harmless. Also, most homeless are not panhandlers and most panhandlers are not homeless…

  • Bull_S

    I hate it….you dont stick a modern building in between 2 turn of the century buildings
    Id rather have it blend and have a historic facade….something like Coles on Elmwood would blend  nicely

  • North Park

    Bull_S  Why don’t you put a modern building between two old ones?  Seems like the best way to fit, interject the new into the old.

  • LouisTully

    North Park Bull_S  I think it’s odd/strange/funny calling the use of shipping containers “modern”.  Roll-in-my-grave, says architects of yesterday.  I’d think a more appropriate reference would be “3rd world building material”.
    These connexes/milvans/shipping container/whatever name are metal,dank, poorly circulated.  I’ve been in reconfigured ones used as barracks and I still found my HMMWV to be equally comfortable.  I nearly have nightmares thinking about climbing in the dark to the back of a 40′ container to find a duffel bag.

  • GotAnyChange

    I hear catholic health is renaming to ‘Mission Airy.’ A new sex position district is born.

  • Metal_Trooper

    LouisTully  I spent a fair amount of time in conex’s in Bosnia and Iraq.

  • mwwood22

    JayDBuffalo  I’m not completely sold on the container idea but if its done right, this could be a cool spot. Hoping it could end up like Crif Dawgs on St Marks Place in NYC; a fun place to grab a dog and a beer. as part of or end to a night out. 
    Dog E Style , though? SMH

  • OldFirstWard

    It’s horrible.  But due to their allegiance to the same location and downtown retail I’ll pretend it does not exist…for 24 hours or so.
    I just wish that the city would issue them a grant to restore the facade and cornice to its original splendor.  Including new full framed windows, (tinted if they like).  I think they deserve that much from a grateful community and government.

  • _ThrowAway_

    JayDBuffalo Maybe it should be read Doge Style? (Wow. Much innuendo. Such dining)

  • junksincerity

    townline a bunch of the buildings behind those are owned by either the same or a similar owner situation and are vacant, which is also technically a violation, yes? I’ve gotten to see the inside of some and they’ve got nothing but potential, if the owner ever gave a shit about anything except just holding onto them in hopes for some eventual huge payout

  • buffalorise

    the only problem i see with this restaurant is that late at night people are lining up at the building next door for methadone. Id get that location moved before I opened up a restaurant

  • MichelleLLH

    Any new addition would be a positive step