Residents of Kenmore have lamented the lack of a decent coffee shop in their village for as long as I can remember. While you can certainly order a coffee at one of several restaurants in Kenmore, you could not – until this week – order a coffee from an actual coffee shop. Now, at SPoT Coffee, you cannot only grab your standard drip coffee, but any number of espresso-based specialties as well.
As a native of Kenmore, I can tell you that residents have dreamed of a better and more beautiful village. And while many of us live and work in the city of Buffalo, we have our own kind of ‘Ken-amore’ for the one-square-mile village that is home. As a child, my parents would tell me stories of Kenmore in its former glory. The streets, they would say, were lined with shops and grocers. There was even a movie theatre, ‘The Kenmore Movie Theater,’ on Delaware Avenue (close to Wabash). My grandmother, who didn’t drive a car, would send her children down the street to fetch an onion or loaf of bread for dinner.
And on Friday nights, ‘downtown Kenmore,’ was the place to be as pedestrians strolled along Delaware Avenue, popping in and out of stores and restaurants. According to my mother, Sally Kirsch, “Friday nights were so busy with people out and about that they had police officers crossing pedestrians.” Even as a small child, I remember shops that no longer exist on Delaware Avenue, such as Gibby’s or the Jacqueline Shop (which has since moved to Williamsville). The new SPoT Coffee has almost symbolic value for residents of Kenmore; it is a sign of progress and good things to come for the village.
On Thursday afternoon, I paid the long-awaited SPoT Coffee a visit. Like most Buffalonians, I am no stranger to SPoT Coffee. I have been to its various locations throughout the city on numerous occasions. Still, I was interested in how this location would compare with the rest.
The Kenmore location is a franchise owned by Geniene and Jim Goranites, and managed by the couple’s son, Dean, and son-in-law, Mike Clarke. Unlike other franchises, Spot Coffee allows owners to exercise considerable creative control over their location. Dean told me that his mother, Geniene, made many of the aesthetic decisions in the Kenmore location. She chose the light fixtures, furniture, mirror, clock, and other decorative elements. I visited on an especially cold and wintery day and was pleased to find a gas fireplace in the center of the space surrounded by upholstered furniture and colorful pillows. According to Dean, Geniene and family were going for a look that combined Downton Abbey with Harry Potter.
Although the interior of this SPoT might differ from the others, the food and drink offerings are the same. The drink menu includes coffee, tea, espresso drinks, and smoothies. And the food menu consists of soup, breakfast items, pizzas, wraps, salads, panini, and pastries.
The Kenmore location of SPoT Coffee is located in the old George Washington School (located at 1 Delaware Road). Ellicott Development purchased the school in 2013 and radically transformed the building. Most noticeably, they installed new windows, added balconies, and built an addition that extends to the sidewalk along Delaware Avenue. Interestingly, Dean lives in one of the new apartments attached to SPoT. He spoke highly of the apartments and told me that the developers chose to keep some original features of the school, including the hardwood floors and chalkboards (which, in his apartment, are in the kitchen).
Although SPoT Coffee is not new to Western New York, it is a welcome addition to the Village of Kenmore. The grand opening will take place on Friday, January 6.
1 Delaware Road
Kenmore, NY 14217