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Standing larger than life on Grant Street

This structure located at 195 Grant Street has come a long way since the days of Somali Star and Cuchafrito Hut. Back in October I wrote about the little building, detailing the teamwork between owner-architect Kathleen Kinan and restaurateur Fred Daniel to create a barbecue joint called Freddie J’s “The Hut”. At that time, exterior work on the hut was underway, but was still far from finished. Today Kinan’s romantic vision for the hut has been fulfilled. She has taken what was once a fairly drab, and unremarkable facade and transformed it into a whimsical patchwork of building materials that have come together to form an eye-catching work of art. The small building now stands larger than life on Grant Street.
When looking at the lead image, it may be hard to look past the colorful facade-work in the foreground, but if you direct your eyes past the hut you will see another sight for sore eyes. You might recall that back in December I met up with Kinan in order to tour the house next door, located at 197 Grant Street (see here). At the time, she was busy wrapping up the final details of the renovation, in order to host a public open house. Work was also underway to outfit the property with geothermal and solar units. While you can’t see the geothermal installation work in the photo, you can see the significant solar panel system on top of the house. “The systems are from Solar Liberty,” Kinan told me. “They are powering the heat pump (thus the heating system). I bought them on a lease agreement from Solar Liberty – they’ve been great to work with so far – very professional.”
The combination of playful architectural elements and environmentally friendly installations is both unexpected and refreshing to see on Grant Street. The close proximity to each other adds to the collective effect of the investments, and paints an entirely different picture of the future of Grant Street and the West Side. Hopefully these types of projects will inspire others to rethink the different directions that can be taken when it comes to rebuilding our commercial districts – without sacrificing our history in the process.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is ‘queenseyes’ – Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world’s largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • meanoldman

    not many would remember, but in it’s true heyday this place was called the “FROZEN WHIP” ice cream parlor. the best soft custard and lemon ice that 10 cents could buy. he also sponsored several little league softball teams. they were given free ice cream to celebrate each game, and there was a patio outside for all to enjoy !

  • davvid

    Looks awesome. Reminds me of Memphis Style design of the 80s.

  • elias

    what a huge difference when business owners care enough about the aesthetics or presentation of their business…i personally enjoyed cuchifrito hut, but it was just not a place i would bring a date to, so to speak. i hope this business does well…

  • pfk67

    You know what amazes me is how many people in Buffalo still exist that are…..innovative and creative and do care. I love this city. We were really hit hard though the 70s, 80s, and 90s but we are a close knit city and we are fighters. Having traveled around the country, there are few cities that measure up. There are plenty that may be prettier (now at least) and larger, but few that really measure up. We are a weathered group and those of us left are planting the seeds of success for our kids. Let’s make sure don’t let them down and leave them a city of empty spaces.
    I’ll leave with one thought. Incentives are what cause change. If you create smart ones their effects will lead us back to prosperity. Restoring downtown is the first step.

  • 16thStreet

    :::standing, slow clap:::
    Well said.

  • grad94

    fresh and fun. fingers crossed that the food lives up to it!

  • polar bear

    I went to the opening in December and was excited to see all the improvements that Kathleen was able to do. She transformed the house into her own artistic sculpture. I especially like the way she pealed back historic layers of the structure’s materials and incorporated them into the final offering.
    Kathleen is a true artist and her creative juices flowed brightly on this project. Now that you are finished . . .can you please come over to my house and work with me??????????
    My house needs your help !

  • buffloonitick

    10 thumbs up

  • polar bear

    Forget the food !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Can we focus on her accomplishment for one moment?
    I think that is the point Grad.

  • medea

    It reminds me of a Checkers burger joint from the 90’s

  • grad94

    relax, pal. i was paying her a compliment.

  • LouisTully

    What good is her accomplishment if it isn’t going to be around in 3 months if the food was no good? They’re not selling hockey sticks, right? So isn’t it kind of important that the product they sell enable them to survive?

  • brownteeth

    It looks like Ted Danson or Steve Gutenburg from “Three men and a Baby” designed it! Seriously though it is unique and its great to see investment and a new business starting up helping to make Grant an even better destination