Friday, after work, I stopped down to check out the new Casa di Pizza downtown. Walking into the place I was greeted with a take-out counter that was reminiscent of the take-out counter at the Elmwood location. If I hadn’t stopped and stared as long as I did, I’m not sure that I ever would have seen that this was also the entranceway to the restaurant… a worker at the counter directed me around the corner where I found the dining room and the bar. For a hot second, I thought that maybe the layout was exactly similar to the Elmwood spot, and maybe I missed the “other” door.
Once inside the belly of the operation, I grabbed a seat at the bar and looked around. There are not many similarities between the new Downtown location and the former Elmwood digs. I’m sure that depending on who you talk to, there will be differences of opinion when it comes to likes and dislikes. It’s hard to compare the two – that’s all I can really say. They didn’t try to recreate the Elmwood location. The owner went for more of a stripped down, colorful and contemporary look.
After ordering a beer, I noticed a familiar face to the right of me – a woman who was more than happy to talk about her affinity for the pizza parlor. She was a poet who frequented the Elmwood location, and decided to follow the operation downtown. She was happily eating her pizza, while reminiscing about the old Casa that she had claimed as one of her go to establishments in Buffalo. At the point that I talked to her, she was still acclimating to her new surroundings, therefore she was hesitant to pass down judgement in any form.
For me, I felt that the place had more of a streamlined downtown vibe, consistent with the upgraded aesthetics of the new Metro Rail stations… the new Main Street. Sitting at the bar, I think that there could be a bit more character, but that usually comes with time, and these guys probably scrambled to open, after splitting from Elmwood.
The patio is pretty crazy – I really like it because it reminds me of something that one might come across in NYC. It’s big, and will probably be a huge success next summer. I hear that the downtown workers are already coming around at lunch time. It will probably be a bit longer before they discover Casa as a primetime post work hangout.
In the meantime, a Buffalo tradition has found new grounds, in a part of the city that is blossoming more and more each day. The Elmwood joint had a huge following, especially with Bills and Sabres’ games. Let’s hope that those diehard fans follow their noses to the new location on Mohawk (at Main). It’s a short hop on the Metro Rail, and centrally situated in an area that is coming to life before our eyes.