Yesterday I posted on The Annex – a new business incubator of sorts located on West Ferry. The reason behind my initial visit to The Annex was to talk to Jessie Fisher (Preservation Buffalo Niagara) and preservationist/chef Emily Pierce-Delaney (Same Old Antics). The two have helped to concoct a relatively new pop-up dining series that shines a light on important preservation sites throughout the city. It’s called Pop-Up Preservation.
The concept of the Pop-Up Preservation dining excursions came about when Jessie and Emily discovered that they were kindred spirits when it came to their stances on the preservation front. You might say that preservation is in their blood. “We wanted to host these pop-up meals at places that are important to Buffalo,” said Jessie. “We chose gardens, silos, the East Side, and a waterfront location. We want to create awareness by letting people know that preservation is about community.” Emily agreed, by saying “Anyone can be a part of it. Whether it’s working on a project at The Foundry or visiting a Grassroots Gardens location, we are all part of the preservation story in one way or another.”
The initial pop-up picnic was held at Mulberry Garden on Jersey Street. 20 supporters of the preservation movement gathered to enjoy wholesome food and craft beer, with real china and glassware. They even ate some of the vegetables that were growing in the garden. According to Jessie and Emily, the point of the meal was that people could support preservation, and it didn’t have to be stodgy or political – it could be entertaining and fun and delicious. Guests sat around eating and laughing, and if they wanted to talk about preservation projects they could. After all, preservation projects were all around them – beautiful homes, churches, etc.
“We are all the beneficiaries of preservation,” they told me. “We all enjoy it in some form or another. We come together in spaces to create awareness. These pop-ups are not about making money – a ticket covers the cost of the production. We consider the events more like friend-raisers than anything else. Preservation is for everyone, no matter your age or where you live. We all enjoy this city because of the successful preservation efforts that have taken place. It’s something to celebrate.”
The next preservation outing is a pop-up brunch at a church on the East Side (Sunday, September 18 – inset menu). After that, there will be a cocktail party hosted at the Outer Harbor (Sunday, October 9). Each excursion costs between $45 and $60 depending on the complexity of the meal, the location, etc. Once a person purchases a ticket, they are notified of the exact location the Friday before the outing. “It’s kind of like going to a rave in the 90s,” said Emily [laughing]. “We’re very excited about all of this. These events give me a chance to cook delicious food using ingredients sourced within 155 miles from Buffalo (had to include Ithaca farms), while doing something beneficial for local preservation efforts. My goal is to not only duplicate these pop-ups next year… I want to add more and grow on past successes.”