Allentown is on its way to getting a tricked out burger bar. Allen Burger Venture is owned by restaurateur and craft beer enthusiast Mike Shatzel, and will be run by General Manager and iconic rocker Johny Chow. The two are childhood friends and formerly played Little League baseball together. “We’ll have a progressive attitude here,” said Johny. “I came back to Buffalo four years ago from LA, and NYC before that. Since my return I’ve seen an elevation in the industry in Buffalo – better bars, and restaurants concentrating on bringing Buffalo to an entirely different level.”
Looking around ABV (a play on “Alcohol By Volume”), it’s exciting to see the changes that are underway. Capitalizing on what Johny considers is the perfect storm brewing in Buffalo, the concentrations on solid food offerings, and equally substantial drink offerings is the key. “Once again, Mike is gearing up to bring 24 quality craft beers to one of his establishments,” Johny told me. “At the same time, we’re going to bring something completely new and different to Buffalo… wine on tap. We recently took a road trip to Good Luck in Rochester and the restaurant owners were nice enough to show us the ropes when it comes to offering keg wines. Just thinking about the numbers of bottles that we will be able to save is incredible… and green. We’re also looking into what it would take to serve up some growlers of wine. Now that would be something different. I’m running the front of the house, and that means consistency is the key – the bartenders will all know how to make great drinks time and time again.”
As for the theme of ABV, Johny tells me that they are hoping to attract the cyclists that frequent Allentown. “Everyone knows that there is not a lot of parking around here,” he explained. “So we’re talking to Justin Booth at GO Bike Buffalo and we’re developing features that would make the cycling community happy. We’re discussing sheltered bike racks in the back of the building, and a flat tire fixing station in the front – we want the modern conveniences of the cycling world to be a part of the pub. Not many people ever expect USB hubs at the bar, but in other cities they are commonplace.”
On top of the bike-friendly features, Johny and Mike are talking about building a rooftop garden, and a tiered patio garden with a seamless indoor/outdoor transition. Aesthetic elements range from reclaimed barn wood walls (not pictured), industrial gas pipe shelving, rustic toaster light fixtures, and even a water station for customers. The station would help to alleviate the hassle of servers doling out water, and thirsty customers never getting water when they want it. “I bought the old Pepsi machine from Home of the Hits on Elmwood,” Mike proudly stated. “We’re converting it into a self serve tap water system for customers. Between the water dispenser and the tap wines that will never have oxygen issues (bottles can sit around and go bad) we’re trying to be inventive here. We also want to support the locals. Community Beer Works is making a beer for us, and then we’ll be featuring other local brewers and micro distillers like Lockhouse, Niagara Distillery, Black Squirrel (FB), and Buffalo Distilling (FB). We’re serious about our bourbon, scotch and whiskey here.”
Buffalo is in luck that Johny’s lead singer with his band “Stone Sour” is on a year and a half world tour with Slipknot. That means that Buffalo’s hometown rocker and restaurant aficionado can concentrate on working his magic in his home town for a while. “Chef Dino DeBell (of Cole’s) is going to to create a farm-to-pub menu that will essentially axe the middle man, thus guaranteeing that the cuts are fresh, the recipes inventive, and the burger-loving public is kept happy and coming back for more (even the veggie-burger lovers).”
Housemade burgers, craft brews, keg wines, right down to the water station… ABV is coming to Allentown soon, and bringing the house down with it.
Allen Burger Venture | 175 Allen Street | 716-555-1222 | Facebook