After four months of intense restoration, Ulrich’s Tavern has opened its doors. Local entrepreneur and developer Tom Eoannou closed on the building back in February and signed Salvatore G. Buscaglia (owner of Snooty Fox) to a longterm lease as the sole proprietor.
Before opening the doors, “Sal” brought on industry pro Angelo Canna Jr. as the General Manager. Upon a recent visit it was apparent that the team has unleashed a grand slam in the heart of the Medical Campus. I had pretty high expectations after seeing Sal transform 445 Delaware Avenue into Snooty Fox, but had no idea he would take his latest restoration endeavor to the level that he did. Sal has worked his magic on this hundred year old pub, painstakingly restoring the original elements while adding modern day conveniences that will help with operations. What many people might not know, is that Sal does much of the restoration work with his own two hands – a feat that you don’t see many operators tackle themselves.
The façade of Ulrich’s looks spectacular, and is a telltale sign of what to expect on the inside. An unusual element that I thought was a nice touch was the music piped to outside speakers. The welcoming tunes make for a terrific first impression. Obviously being located in a spot with no immediate residential neighbors was the key to allowing this to happen.
Once I stepped inside, I walked into the tavern and felt as if time had stood still – indeed it could have been 1868 at a precursory glance. I found myself enamored with the salvaged Iroquois Beer back bar and the electric converted 1860-1875 oil lamp lighting that hung overhead. Then there was the dramatic hand-stenciled walls, the original phone booth, and historic photos that adorned the walls. The attention to detail was simply awesome. Any lover of historic taverns would be proud of the way Sal has handled this renovation.
Aside from the aesthetics, Sal explained that a majority of the infrastructure was overhauled as well. This included plumbing, electrical and soon to be new air-conditioning.
Another win for the tavern was the addition of a few modern day features that complement this beautiful space. Examples include a 10 tap glycol refrigerated line system, security cameras, a compact jukebox and phone charger stations. Many of the newer amenities are subtle enough that they will not overpower the 19th century feel the team so passionately wants you to experience. One really cool dynamic can be seen when you look out the tavern’s windows and see the ultra-modern medical campus just a block away, and the bike storage facility across the street.
I didn’t have a chance to eat, but after one visit I consider myself a regular bar patron at Ulrich’s. I’m happy to support anyone who helps to rescue Buffalo’s historic tavern legacy. Thankfully, Ulrich’s carries Rusty Chain, one of my local favorites, along with selections from Hamburg Brewing Co. The tavern also houses 17 wines and a full bar. As for the food side of the operation, Angelo has hired Chef John Gugino and I have to say, the menu looks very tempting with traditional German fare and plenty of American twists. I will be back to try out some offerings soon. For those who used to frequent Ulrich’s back in the day, the current operators have kept some of the original menu favorites.
Hats off to Sal, Angelo and the entire Ulrich’s 1868 Tavern team for a truly outstanding effort. You deserve a standing ovation for your impassioned preservation of such a special place in Buffalo’s history.