Over the past five years we’ve seen an enormous number of restaurants open ranging from steak houses to falafel bars. We’ve also witnessed quite a few farmers’ markets established in various neighborhoods. BRO has followed food movements like Slow Food and organic farming, while shining lights on the small and large operations. All in all, I would have to say that our city has a healthy culinary industry. So where do we go from here?
If businessman Bill Breeser and Chef Martin Danilowicz have their way, Buffalo may soon be home to a 25,000 square foot riverside market (1250-1270 Niagara Street) dedicated to our culinary past, present and future. When I first heard that Bill was pondering such a venture, I asked him how it could ever happen? It sounded like it was too good to be true. Where was the space? What sort of food? Who was helping? Is this a dream? “Martin put a bug in my ear,” Bill told me. “And ever since we’ve talked to more and more people who like the concept. I own a vacant warehouse on Niagara Street… I was showing Martin a house in the area and I happened to mention this warehouse to him. He told me that he wanted to see it, so I showed it to him and he began to talk about similar spaces in other cities.
“At the time, we began to discuss what sort of partners we could bring in. It didn’t cross our minds that vendors the Elmwood/Bidwell Farmers’ Market might be looking for a year ’round home. Incredibly, around that time, Patrick from the White Cow Dairy stopped by to look at another space in the building for his operation. He got just as excited and said that the farmers’ group had been looking for a space to do a year round market rather than just for the summer months. Last Saturday we walked around the farmers’ market and chatted to the folks about the idea – we got a pretty positive response. So we handed out flyers this past weekend to invite the farmers to an upcoming meeting.
“At this point we are trying to gauge the interest. I’m still trying to understand what people would be looking for (future customers and culinary vendors). For example, we could have a baker in the building that would have an oven that other people could use. Maybe we could get Massachusetts Avenue Project based out of there. The lower level of the building is at grade (for trucking in and out goods) and we could use that for storage. Sorrento Cheese has expressed an interest in having an outlet – I think that there are plenty of Buffalo-based food operations that would like an additional outlet. Martin Danilowicz has been helping to spearhead the effort… so far the interest has been growing.”
Imagine the possibilities. This is an incredible opportunity that we have right here, right now. A few years ago I had tried to get a market off the ground at the DL&W Terminal along the Buffalo River. Unfortunately the building was too prohibitive. Fast forward a couple of years and we have an even stronger effort underway – except this time the owner of the building is leading the charge. That means he’s going to need help. If you, or someone you know, is in the local culinary world, and you think that this opportunity is worth exploring, send an email (today) to Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org. This warehouse is within eyesight of the Peace Bridge. There is parking all up and down Niagara Street. It’s near Rich Products (see rooftop photo). The building has character, it’s enormous, and it’s in great shape. Whether you are a chef, a baker, a canner, an accessories retailer or a grower… if you have something to contribute to this project, don’t hesitate to reach out. It’s going to take a combined effort on the part of all WNY foodies to make this dream a reality.