I’ll never forget the day when I first heard that The Genesee Gateway building had changed hands. When the development was announced, I remember thinking to myself that the project was one of the crucial turning points that would prove that Buffalo was indeed rebounding. Since that time, the building has been filling up as a mixed use development, and just this week the latest commercial addition opened its doors.
Marco’s Italian Deli sits right smack dab on the corner of Genesee and Oak. Its location is super high profile, considering that the intersection is considered one of the gateways to the city.
Earlier today I popped my head into Marco’s to check out the build-out. The deli has a great vantage point onto the street, and takes full advantage of the windows via bar-style seating. Then there are a bunch of tables situated in the middle of the room. It’s not a big spread by any means, but it does have the no-nonsense NYC delicatessen vibe, where people line up at the counter and check out the menu board while they are waiting.
The atmosphere in Marco’s is pretty stark (and a bit too bright with all of the fluorescent lights beaming down), which is not that big of a deal considering that the idea behind the operation is to serve good food, in a timely manner, without the muss and the fuss.
I ordered a sandwich for lunch and my meal almost beat me to my table (it’s pretty darn quick). The sandwich special that I picked out was actually a sub, made with bread from Luigi’s Bakery on Forest Avenue. I’m not overly familiar with menu at Marco’s, and didn’t realize that there was a paper menu at the front counter, so I ordered off the handwritten menu board (next time I will have a better understanding of the offerings). I also forgot to ask if they might toast the rolls, if asked prior to making the sandwich.
The menu showcases a number of different selections, many of which have some sort of mobster reference – Sammy The Bull, Foot of Ferry, Don Corleone, etc. The gangster theme transcends to the room decor, with images of famous gangsters riddled along the wall.
The sandwiches are fairly large at Marco’s, so you’re expected to either have a big appetite or take the other half home witchoo. I’m sure that that is half the reason that the sub sandwiches are wrapped in dry wax deli paper, and then slipped into a sub bag – easy to eat and easy to wrap up and take back to work. There are no plates or silverware to deal with either, making the operation even more streamlined.
The crowd at Marco’s appeared to be mostly coming from work. A good number of the customers were dressed in business attire. The food is a quick ‘pick-me-up’ for the office crowd that is usually in a hurry and doesn’t want to dabble around while waiting for a home cooked meal.
Marco’s is the perfect type of eatery for downtown. It’s streamlined to do exactly what its customers expect it to do. It’s centrally located, in close proximity to a number of office buildings, and it offers everything from panini “sangwiches’ to burgers to deli platters. There are also soups, salads and a kids’ menu for those who might have a whippersnapper in tow.
All in all, Marco’s is another good addition to the Downtown lunch scene. This is the 6th restaurant in the Marco’s fleet, which means that the owners are doing something right. I’m happy that they chose Downtown Buffalo for their latest investment. Seeing the corner filled by a reputable deli is a real “pinch me” moment. I look back at the days when this building was merely a shell and think to myself, “If Buffalo hadn’t begun to turn when it did, this entire building might not have lasted much longer.”
Thankfully this story has a different ending, and we’re all benefitting from the outcome.
Marco’s Italian Deli | 111 Genesee at Oak | Buffalo NY | 716-854-3069 | Website