Last night a couple of us got a chance to scope out MAC’s on Hertel. After hearing a lot of buzz, and watching the outside of the building being outfitted with a second floor patio, I was anxious to see the changes that had taken place inside the joint.
Upon walking in, it’s hard not to notice the giant mural that depicts downtown Buffalo during its heyday. After taking in the mural for a few minutes, we walked up to the bar, which is now front and center in the middle of the restaurant. The giant elliptical bar allows plenty of customers to belly up for a drink. Positioning the bar in the middle of the establishment was a brilliant move, as it emphasizes socialization – something that was missing back in the Empire days.
While the bar plays a predominant role in the reincarnation of the building, there are still plenty of places to grab food at MAC’s. The upstairs dining area features a large patio, similar to what we see at Pearl Street Grill and Brewery in Downtown Buffalo. The mezzanine allows diners to connect with the activity below, without being overwhelmed by the activity and the noise. The balcony also offers up a nice spot for musicians to play (as pictured).
In a promotional newsletter that looks like a historic newspaper (offered to customers), proprietor Mark Bohn is quoted as saying that he envisions MAC’s to be a family friendly restaurant, with high energy atmosphere, serving up American cuisine. Menu items range from root beer short ribs to bourbon, bacon and steak flatbread, to Buffalo chicken crunch rolls. Then there’s the beef and bacon meatloaf, a Thai noodle bowl and a whiskey glazed salmon. Looking over the menu, it’s easy to see that there’s something for everyone, including a late night menu that offers up three different Trash Plates.
Last night there was a lively bar crowd, but there were also people sitting around eating who didn’t appear to mind all of the hoopla. I can see this place being popular with families, sports fans, beer drinkers, and anyone else who wants to hang out in a place with lots of action, without being over the top.
MAC’s is a large restaurant, to be sure. It’s unlike anything else that you will find in North Buffalo, which should bode well for Bohn and his crew. Once the weather warms up a bit, I can see this corner being a beehive of activity – sort of the way that Pano’s is on Elmwood. I am eager to head back and try the food at this restaurant hub on Hertel. It’s nice to see this high profile corner occupied again, and packed with people. These are the types of establishments that should be solid anchors for commercial districts. So far, that looks to be the direction that this place is heading.
MAC’s on Hertel | 1435 Hertel Avenue | Buffalo, New York | (716) 833-6227 | Facebook