Tipico Coffee opened up this weekend, signaling the creation of a wonderful neighborhood resource that works on so many levels. First, there are very few cafés of this nature, nestled right into a neighborhood setting. Most coffee shops are found on main drags, making the advent of Tipico (see story) something special. Second, the café was built in reverse. Instead of being built with an operator in mind (which is what traditionally happens), Tipico was built to bring a modernist vision to Buffalo. The interior of Tipico is sleek and streamlined, yet warmed by radiant floor heat, along with an ancient Chinese heating element called a keng stove. In the case of Tipico, function and form battle it out, and the winner is the customer who gets to experience a comfortably-dynamic setting in a neighborhood that warrants such a tremendous effort.
Property owner Giles Kavanagh, Davidson Rafailidis Architects, and Tipico owner Jesse Crouse have done a smashing job at creating a vision and sticking with it – truly. Just take a look at the architect’s original vision, and then step inside Tipico – it’s essentially the same thing, right down to the Thonet chairs. The larger than life windows bring the neighborhood to the front door – the scene draws people in, similar to the scene evoked by Edward Hopper when he painted Nighthawks.
Tipico customers can gaze outside at the colorful foliage, set against old brick houses, on a corner that is historically significant in so many ways (the original Fargo Estate). Cars slowly pass, drivers and passengers gawking at the café, adding to the architectural brilliance – the pure simplicity achieved.
The neighbors will undoubtedly claim Tipico as their own, stopping in on their way to work in the morning, and then again in the evening to watch the winter’s snow fly all around them, as if in a personal snow globe. And then come spring and summer, legs will dangle from the window ledges, with customers half inside and half outside the coffee shop. Crouse even says that he will have an espresso window, where customers (with their dogs) can place orders without even walking inside – more brilliancy.
Tipico will be frequented by students, artists, families, home owners – all the people that make up this neighborhood. It will be an eclectic place that will mainly be discovered by people who are familiar with the neighborhood, and/or seek it out because of its unique aesthetics and distinctively delicious brewed coffee drinks, toasts and spreads, Butter Block pastries, and other delectable treats.
A word of directional advice – the best way to get to Tipico (by car) is to head to Porter and then take Fargo heading towards downtown. Or catch Jersey at Niagara Street and head towards Kleinhans. In either case, a couple of blocks away you will find the corner of Jersey, where the café sits. These are the best ways to navigate all of the one way streets that lead (or don’t lead) to this oasis on the city’s lower West Side.