Rex Keppel and Kevin Shanahan, owners and operators of Matinee, opened their doors at 698 Main Street in the heart of the Theater District to the public last night to begin a one-week soft opening before their official opening on Tuesday, May 3rd. A small crowd of friends and family were on hand to support and celebrate with the duo, but as the evening progressed passers-by filled the space that once was Buzz Coffee in the EMI Building.
The soft opening of this much anticipated bar/restaurant is meant to work out any kinks that might be present, receive feedback and comments from patrons to improve and adjust as necessary, and to get a feeling for the vibe of the place to establish a level of service. Their menu is being finalized and will be ready next week. It will include a variety of small plate options, however last night’s homemade pizzelles with cannoli dip and a creamy cheese cake dip were an unexpected offering that were outrageously delicious and went surprisingly well with my pinot grigio. Other selections will be available as they develop. I was talking with Keppel’s mom at the bar who said that all the food will be made using the freshest ingredients available. Her advice to her son was to start out slowly, offering a few options done really well. An ample selection of bottled beer and wine is available as well as good and always fresh coffee, another bit of motherly advice.
Matinee’s location on Main Street is expected to draw an eclectic crowd from both theater and concert goers and also the performing artists themselves after shows. EMO band Pentimento’s guitarist, Lance Claypool, was having a beer at the bar. “It’s nice to see this place finally opening. It’s going to be a place where people can be involved in the arts on a different level,” he said. Neal Brodfuehrer has been part of the music scene in Buffalo for years and is currently the production manager for the Thursday concert series at Canalside, and has worked at Town Ballroom and other concert venues in the area. He feels that Matinee will be an ideal place to matchup two different groups of the arts, music and theater, bridging a gap between them in a fun and casual way. Brodfuehrer remarked, “I am excited to see what happens here. This should be an exciting spring and summer downtown.”
It’s going to be a place where people can be involved in the arts on a different level.
Matinee’s soft opening will continue throughout this week. Keppel and Shanahan welcome patrons to check the place out and offer suggestions and comments before they kick into high gear next week. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. You can keep up to date on menu offerings and updates as they become available on their Facebook page or on Twitter at matinee698.
Matinee | 698 Main Street | Buffalo, NY | (716) 359-2977