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A Kenmore Village Walkabout

This morning a BRO reader asked whether we had checked out the facade makeover at King Condrell’s on Delaware in The Kenmore Village, currently underway. The email prompted me to head over to see the colorful work, and to conduct a walkabout of the commercial neighborhood. I brought my dog along with me on the walk – he was very happy to find that one of the businesses was thoughtful enough to put out a water bowl on a front step. Sometimes it’s the little things that you remember the most.

We started our walk at the corner of Delaware and Kenmore Avenues.

Welcome to Kenmore – this is the historic Eberhardt Mansion, built in 1893 for Frederick Eberhardt in a Neo-Romanesque style of architecture. What a way to start off a walk.
This is the sprawling lawn that sits behind Eberhardt Mansion, facing Delaware Avenue. It’s nice having a lawn like this, but at the same time, it would be even better if it was a maintained meadow or a pollinator garden. Not only would it have to be mowed less, it would look beautiful. It would also be a nice stopping point for butterflies and honeybees. Even Unless someone is playing soccer on this lawn, there are better uses for the grounds. At least plant some trees or flower beds, with a couple of benches. A lot of potential here, to create something truly beautiful for the street, which would also play off the grandeur of the mansion.
How about some awesome corner infill from Iskalo Development that stretches the entire block? The only think that could make it better is, remove that paper sign in the window, and hang a legit sign from the building. After going so far, that one little blemish is tacky. But the water bowl makes up for it. This whole block looks magnificent.
At first I thought, “What a bummer, this sprawling parking lot in the middle of this wonderful neighborhood. Then I noticed this sign of good fortune by Iskalo Development. I’m crossing fingers and toes that someone is looking for a great space for a new project, because we know that Iskalo will do a great job on the development.
There are a lot of great buildings in the Kenmore Village, including this – Kenmore Presbyterian Church. It’s so nice when a corner is not a gas station or a Rite Aid/Walgreens. The town still needs to get rid of a number of highway style street lamps – even an American flag doesn’t help in this case. This type of street lighting does not fit in a village setting. Also it could be great to see the center turning lanes gone, and replaced with bike lanes. This village deserves bike lanes.
Even though the Kenmore Presbyterian Church does have a large parking lot at this corner, at least there are some attributes that help to soften it up a little bit, including plantings, ecclesiastic art, and a bench for passersby to take a load off and contemplate life in the village. I also like the giant gold lettering and Asian characters (with dormers) on the side of JINLAN Chinese Restaurant’s rooftop.
The 500 Block of Elmwood Avenue could use some of the iron tree grilles that keep the litter out, while allowing rain to seep in. These look sharp and are very practical. Obviously there are times when these are not to be used, like when a business wants to plant flowers. But for those who would care less about keeping their walkway clean, these can’t be beat.When in doubt, plant a tree grille.
From drab to fab! King Condrell’s was super drab before this week. Now the storefront pops, shouting out to the wold, “We’re here, and we have ice cream and candy… and we care about our neighborhood, so we decided to invest in it.” Now, go support this place!
Oh, if only the owner of this corner building had thought about the transom windows, this place would be top notch. It’s up there, and another welcome addition on the street. So close to nailing it! Every commercial district deserves to have a nice old building like this. Bring back the transoms and call it a day!
Miss Josie’s Antiques is a cool store inside and out. A little paint touch-up and this place is good to go. I love the awning out in front, and there’s nothing that says “It’s time to shop” like a big Welcome Flag flapping out front. Miss Josie’s is a fantastic retro clothing and accessories shop – one of the best around. I could spend hours poking around this place.
Opportunity knocks… big time. From the sidewalk, you might not notice the beautiful house that looms above, but a view from across the street shows that this corner is screaming for something great to take hold. That bubble awning has got to go. Can you imagine if the storefront actually accentuated the brick and mansard, instead of detracting from it? Hopefully someone realizes this opportunity at hand.
Now this is what a bank should look like. There was a time, when banks opted to knock down this type of architecture, so that they could build single-storey pieces of junk. Thankfully, Kenmore Village has retained these nice buildings that contribute greatly to the streetscape. Who wouldn’t want to bank at this corner? And thankfully, it’s not “The corner of Happy and Healthy”… nothing gimmicky here, just a nice looking bank building that has stood the test of time and is open for business.
Vasilis is a great looking business. I love the old world blade sign, and the planters. The neon is a nice touch too. Very simple and very classy. This place is super appealing, nestled in among a number of other small businesses. In the end, I keep coming back to that sign – it’s such a nice touch.
The reason that I am choosing to point out the Best of Health business, is not necessarily for the building. Instead, I’m impressed by the number of healthy food and lifestyle places that populate the village. There are dance studios, healthy food markets, and this place that sells vitamins, minerals, and herbs. There’s also nutritional counseling, therapeutic massage, reiki, and ear candling. Now that’s a sign of a healthy village. There’s another healthy food joint just down the street called Eat Rite Foods that serves up loads of healthy prepared foods.
Another great bank building occupies this corner. It’s an impressive bookend to a block that is filled with all sorts of nice mom ‘n pop shops. The Village of Kenmore was the “first Buffalo suburb”. To me, Kenmore has a nice urban feel to it, due to the nature of a few buildings like this one. Notice the farmers’ market sign? Nice touch!
Kenmore Village hit the big time when it landed a Spot Coffee. Most everyone in Buffalo loves a Spot Coffee- it’s a great neighborhood place to hang out with friends and family. It’s a place to grab a great cup of coffee and a quick bite to eat. I’m sure that this has quickly become a neighborhood favorite.
The Village Greeen. What a fabulous park space, set right in the middle of all the action. Every commercial neighborhood could use something like this. It’s a great gathering place, and adds a sense of peace and serenity to its surroundings. It’s also the perfect for the Kenmore Village Farmers’ Market, “…which runs Sunday mornings until 1 PM. The market features yoga on the green, music, food trucks and of course produce from local farmers. There are also crafts people, a different mix every week, The market will run until the end of October this year.”
La Divina Mexican Store has become a fan favorite in the neighborhood. From the great Mexican dishes to the expansive market space inside, this place is a real treasure. Once again, it shows a nice bit of diversity on the block.
You are now looking at one of the greatest signs in all of WNY. The Plaka Restaurant looks sensational with its larger than life signage. Not only does the place look great, it’s also an iconic neighborhood eatery. When I pass through the village, I always rubberneck when I see this place. They don’t do signage like they used to.
Another wonderful looking corner boasting another hometown favorite. There’s nothing not to love about this building, with the rounded brick facade and the sharp awnings. Very impressive. It’s the perfect home for Watson’s Chocolates. Who doesn’t like a leisurely stroll to a chocolate shop in the neighborhood?
Do municipal buildings get any better than this? Once again, this impressive historic building adds such majestic grandeur to the village. We’re all lucky that it withstood the test of time, and is still in excellent shape today. It’s also put to good use everyday. The facade of the building (facing The Village Green) is also quite impressive.
Every notable village needs a notable church. Kenmore Village has St. Paul’s RC Church. The church is a special addition to the street. It looks like it’s in good shape, and still contributing to the grounding of the neighborhood. We’ve lost a good number of churches along the way. Some of them even became parking lots. Thankfully, this one still stands proud in Kenmore and adds some historic interest along the way.
How cool is that the village has a Bellydance Academy? Kenmore has certainly come a long way with the mix of businesses that call the village “home’. How often does one run into a place to get Ballydance lessons. What a neat feature.
Brookdale Senior Living – This is a building that I have always been intrigued by. It came so close to being awesome. I bet on paper is was magical, but somewhere along the way the right materials never came into play. Although the finished product could have been a lot better, I still think this is good infill. It certainly adds ‘something’ to the street in a very unique way.
Last but not least, there’s Clann Na Cara Irish Dance School. Dancers from this school are represented at just about every Irish festival, party, parade, etc. This dance troupe is prolific throughout the city, and it’s so nice to see them represented in the Kenmore Village.

Well, that was my takeaway from a September stroll through the village. I’m sure that I missed a few things along the way. It’s pretty neat to see this area doing so well. Kenmore is a desirable place to live partially due to this fantastic slice of village life.

Written by queenseyes

queenseyes

Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

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