When it comes to hosting the perfect Buffalo cocktail party, there is one place in the city that takes the cake for creating an outdoor ambiance unlike any other. What makes this particular occasion even more special is that it doesn’t take place at a bar or a restaurant. As a matter of fact, at this point, there are only three times a summer when visitors arrive to take advantage of the exquisite offerings. I am referring to select Thursday evenings at The Mansion on Delaware Avenue (MoDA) of course.
For the third year in a row, The Mansion is hosting a series of outdoor gatherings that have become incredibly popular. What may look like a wedding ceremony to most passersby, is actually a gathering of people who have come to learn about the word-of-mouth occasion from friends and from Facebook. “This past Thursday we hosted about 175 people,” Gino Principe, co-owner and General Manager of The Mansion, told me. “Cocktails on the Lawn has become popular as hell, and we’ve needed to double up deuces in order to accommodate everyone. It’s a great way to meet new friends – especially when you end up sitting at a four-top with an unfamiliar couple. We’ve even started to turn away people who get here late. When that happens we make sure that we give them a list of all of the other places to go downtown that we think they might enjoy.”
The Mansion began to host Cocktails on the Lawn as a way to introduce Buffalonians to The Mansion who might not normally be looking to stay at a boutique hotel in their hometown. “We wanted to connect with the community,” Gino told me. “It’s been creating a big buzz, with no advertising… it’s been very organic and we get people coming from all over the area. It’s a good opportunity to show off the city, to those who may not normally come downtown. Each event we have live music on the rooftop and we serve some of the best food around. This is a sanctuary, so when people come here we want to make sure that they are getting top rate food, cocktails, service and atmosphere.
“The food that we’re putting out allows us to show people what we are capable of doing. Chef Jen Boye has been “wowing” people with her creative talents in the kitchen.” Small plates such as Spar’s chorizo stuffed roasted olives, rosemary fried almonds, chorizo stuffed olives and sunchoke vichyssoise compliment such drinks as The MoDA Margarita with Semental reposado tequila, grilled grapefruit, spices, agave & Cointreau. For those on the hungry side, dishes such as the Dutch Baby – arugula, bacon, grilled peaches, pistachios on a savory pancake – aim to please the palate fully and completely. Many of the fresh ingredients used come straight from The Mansion’s urban garden. Other delights include Bahn Mi Sliders with housemade pate (ingredients from T-Meadow farm), Fried Chicken Tacos with bbq lentils & fennel-napa cabbage and Blackberry Rhubarb Shortcake with house made biscuit and burnt milk whipped cream.
The Cocktails on the Lawn series has become so popular that The Mansion is now scheduling three additional pop-up restaurant events that will take place indoors during the colder months! Using the same formula, these events will certainly be overwhelmingly popular and will allow guests to get the full MoDA experience.
While the first cocktail party has already passed, there are two more scheduled to take place this summer – July 25 and August 22, 2012. On July 25th The Rockaz, a seven piece rockin’ reggae jazz band will play, and on August 22nd the Billy Baroo Trio (traditional jazz quartet) will sound off. Throw on a nice outfit and get there early, because it does get busy. The event takes place from 5:30pm-8:30pm. Sorry, no reservations. The event is free. Food and cocktail prices vary.