Keeping up with The Barrel Factory could be a full time gig. There’s always something new brewing at this ever-evolving destination in the Old First Ward.
To start, Lakeward Spirits distillery recently unveiled its new patio, which could be considered one of the best in Buffalo.
Adding to the excitement, the distillery also officially opened its highly anticipated rooftop cigar porch, which is quite sizable and accommodating.
As if that wasn’t enough, The Barrel Factory will soon be home to a new restaurant, run by the operator of Buffalo’s Best Grill, located at 3700 Southwestern Blvd in Orchard Park. Restaurant owner Tony Formato was initially brought onboard to run catering for The Barrel Factory, and that led him to the decision to open a full fledge restaurant. At this point, the kitchen equipment is on order, and the build-out is anticipated to start shortly.
Once open, the restaurant will be off the main lobby, with seating in the main lobby and in Lakeward Spirits’ spaces (above). Formato will continue operating the catering kitchen upstairs in the event center (below).
Barrel Factory owner Larry Bystran says that the new restaurant is the perfect fit for the multi-purpose venue. “They also have a very nice pizzeria by the McKinley Mall (Buffalo’s Best Pizza & Wings, 4510 Lake Ave., Blasdell), a catering business (Buffalo’s Best Grill & Catering), a food truck, and food trailer. Plus they have the healthy pre-packaged meal business, BBG2Go (Buffalo’s Best Grill 2 Go).”
It sounds as if Bystran has nailed down one of the last pieces of The Barrel Factory puzzle. Then again, if you know the guy, then you know that he’s got a bunch of other tricks up his sleeve. I remember when I first met him, and he spelled out his vision for the building. It turned out exactly how he imagined it, which is pretty incredible. He set his mind to the operation and went full throttle until it all came together (in a relatively short period of time).
First he restored the 114-year old historic factory – The Barrel Factory . As he was restoring the building, he signed on tenants, including Lakeward Spirits, Snowy Owl Kombucha, and Elevator Alley Kayak. His goal was to create a place where everyone felt comfortable, whether someone wanted to sip a spirit with a cigar in hand, or ride a bike and go kayaking. To him, the building could accommodate all of these things, and more.
Bystran knew that the Old First Ward was just getting its mojo back, and wanted to contribute to everything that was happening around him. He wanted to create a destination that would draw people from all over the region, for all sorts of reasons. And that’s exactly what he’s done. When the new restaurant opens, The Barrel Factory will be firing on all cylinders. In the meantime, if you’re onto patios and porches, spirits and cigars, kayaking and kombucha, there’s only one place that has it all…