There are a few empty restaurant spaces in Buffalo that have incredible potential. Yet they sit empty waiting for the right proprietor to come up with the right formula. Take the corner of Goodell and Main for example. While some people say that one of the biggest drawbacks to the space is the lack of parking, there is considerable upside to the location – it’s remarkable that the place has been sitting empty as of late. Luckily, things are beginning to look up for this corner spot. Restaurateur Jennifer Laban and her partner Jonathan Dentan are in the midst of turning the space into a destination eatery called Kay Dara, specializing in a mostly Southeast Asian profile.
If you’re a fan of Vietnamese, Lao, Thai, Chinese, Korean and Japanese cuisine, then you’re in for a big surprise. Not only will Kay Dara be serving up some highly uncommon Oriental foods, guests will have a choice of six different seating areas. Depending on their mood, patrons will be able to sit at the centrally located 360 degree bar, or if they prefer, seating overlooking the open kitchen or in the far corner with windows looking onto Main Street. An elevated platform is another dining option, or up in the balcony overlooking the Main Floor… there’s a seating arrangement upstairs in the lounge and eventually there will be patio tables set up for those looking to eat outside.
There are as many dining areas under one roof as there are culinary offerings being prepared in the open kitchen, and those looking to try various noodle dishes (noodles made in-house), pescetarian delights or the udon or pho, will be able to do so in an ever-changing environement. Kay Dara is also banking on being part stripped-down Asian steakhouse while also catering to the hardcore vegan and vegetarian crowd. Composed seasonal dishes will feature items sourced as locally as possible… and don’t be surprised to hear that some of the cooking techniques are taken from the distant cookbook pages of countries that we’re vaguely familiar with.
Kay Dara will serve up noodle dishes in the $7-$10 price category. Full on dining sessions will run the gamut. Beers at Kay Dara will consist of select craft beers and Buffalo-friendly domestics. Also, wines from obscure wineries and vodkas that you just can’t find at your neighborhood liquor store, along with locally bottled sodas (this one’s a surprise), and house made coconut water used in some of the specialty drinks.
The restaurant will offer room service to residents in The Sidway Building – an elevator runs right from the restaurant to each floor. Kay Dara’s balcony can be reserved for parties, and off-premise catering will be available. Other notable items of interest include oversized bathrooms – the women’s bathroom has a small lounge and stocked cosmetic table. The wallpaper in the bathrooms will be a collage of photos taken of other restaurant bathrooms in Buffalo. There’s an old photo booth in the back where people can entertain themselves while waiting to be seated… or they might want to try their hand at a retro Galaga-Space Invaders game.
Table tops are being custom made by various Buffalo artists, and much of the furniture is being commissioned locally. There will be art openings and valet parking (and the Metro Rail runs along this route of course).
As for the right marketing exposure, Kay Dara is planning on utilizing the existing banner poles on The Sidway Building for increased signage, which should help to catch the attention of the passing traffic on Goodell. The owners are hoping to have the restaurant open by the end of July.
777 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14202