I sat down with Salvatore G. Buscaglia, the new sole proprietor of Ulrich’s 1868 Tavern, a day after attorney and preservationist Tom Eoannou closed the deal. Salvatore, a finish carpenter by trade, signed a long-term lease and plans on restoring Buffalo’s oldest bar to its original grandeur.
Sal gets it. For a bar owner and successful restaurateur, he has limited ego. Sal is first to give props to others and realizes that success will result from a team effort. Before I had a chance to take my coat off, he introduced me to the general manager, Angelo Canna Jr. and artisan Devin Simpson. Angelo spent many years at the Buffalo Convention Center running the food and beverage side of the house. He is both honored and excited for the opportunity to be part of Ulrich’s resurrection. Devin, of Swiatek Studios (Shea’s, North Park Theatre et al), is helping to bring Ulrich’s back to life through the implementation of detailed design.
It was 6pm on Friday, Valentine’s Day, and it seemed as if there was no quit time for the trio anytime soon. We grabbed a couple chairs and chatted adjacent to the 1910 Iroquois Hotel back bar. Sal is a passionate man. Whether he knows it or not, he senses balance in things. He mentioned that the late nineteenth century designed space will be equipped with some modern technology (10-tap glycol refrigerated line system, security cameras etc.), which will bring it up to date, outfitted with modern amenities that will keep it current amongst its competitors in the industry. To think that the oldest bar in Buffalo is adjacent to one of the world’s leading research and technical institutes… perfectly positioned to take advantage of a growing segment of the city’s workforce. Sal also remarked that he is most comfortable getting down and dirty working on the restoration efforts. Most people only see him dressed up and shaking hands in his other establishment, Snooty Fox Restaurant and Lounge located at 445 Delaware Avenue. When it comes to work ethic, one word comes to mind that pretty much sums up Sal’s acumen – ‘balance’.
Sal’s mission is pretty simple. When customers walk into Ulrich’s he wants them to feel as if they are entering the tavern as it appeared the day it first opened in 1868. He is sparing no expense and is in no hurry to open the doors, although mid-April would be ideal for the unveiling. He emphasized that none of the original décor is being sacrificed, and the team is making every effort to restore the tavern to its original splendor.
Sal is doing it right. He is just as focused on the food as he is of the aesthetics of the space. Ulrich’s will be open for lunch and dinner 6 days a week. The restaurant/tavern, at 674 Ellicott St., will offer German, Italian, Polish and other fare. The exact menu is still a work in progress.
Ulrich’s is the perfect fit for Sal – it is 4 blocks from Snooty Fox and 8 blocks from home. I believe that it complements Snooty quite nicely – especially when I think back at all of the hard work that he put into the establishment when it first opened. I look forward to meeting up with Salvatore and Angelo in April and sharing with BRO readers, the fruits of their labor. Until then, cheers to a new day for the city’s oldest tavern.