It looks as if we’re only a couple of weeks away from the grand opening of Tappo Pizza @ Thin Man Brewery. The way that this is panning out is that Chef Phil Limina (Tappo Restaurant) is teaming together with Mike Shatzel (Thin Man Brewery), and developer Rocco Termini (Tappo and Thin Man), to create a drinking and dining destination on Chandler Street. This latest Tappo concept will revolve around craft beer and artisan pizza.
The sprawling first floor of Tappo Pizza is dedicated as restaurant and bar space. The second floor is set aside as a “catering loft” for events and weddings (250 standing capacity, and 160 seating capacity). The catering operation also boasts its own full kitchen and tap bar. Both floors overlook the new Thin Man Brewery, which is visible through glass panels. The second floor also features a barrel room, filled with aging beers. The brewery and the barrel room will both be open for tours.
I met up with restaurant partner Phil Limina, who is handling the food side of the operation at 166 Chandler. “Phil told me that aside from falling asleep at the dinner table last night, everything has been going according to plan. “The pizza concept is a step above counter service,” he told me.
“It’s a big city concept that revolves around the brewery, where Tappo Pizza is a vendor for Thin Man Brewery. Customers place their orders, and then we ping their phones when their orders are ready. The food will be fresh, and waiting under a heat lamp, where a server will be prepared to hand off the 12” pizzas served on beautiful ceramic plates. There will also be apps such as wood fired bolognese and others that are prepared using various Thin Man beers, including beer battered onions on a spike, and brewhouse wings. We’re lucky to have a full kitchen downstairs, with two pizza ovens, and another full kitchen for the catering on the second floor, which is being run by Lisa Vitello. Most of the wood design elements that you see are upcycled barn wood from Buffalo’s ReUse Action.”
Phil told me that, per usual, the Tappo team is looking to serve quality food at affordable prices. The pizzas will range between 12 and 15 bucks. The industrial design of the space will be a draw unto itself, with giant lofting ceilings, clear garage doors that open to the street, and a back patio that runs the length of the building, which will showcase ever-evolving graffiti street art featuring the likes of Mark Madden, Vinny Alejandro, and Mic Excel.
During my visit, I bumped into Mark Madden who was busy canvasing one of the walls with a number of pieces. He told me that the plan is to illuminate the walls with colored LEDs so that they are always changing. He’s considering calling the narrow courtyard “The Channel on Chandler” because he expects that it will open up a number of channels with artists from around the country. “There’s a much bigger street art movement in Buffalo these days, thanks to projects like Paint vs. Paint on the East Side,” Madden told me. “It’s an exciting time for graffiti street artists in Buffalo, who finally have legit places to paint. It’s great that Rocco understands that this sort of art meshes with his industrial projects. Some of these pieces were already here, and we’re tying them into the new works to respect those who came before us.”
Madden and his crew join graffiti street artist Chuck Tingley who painted another sprawling work across the street at 155 Chandler (see here).
Tappo Pizza @ Thin Man Brewery is scheduled to open in about two weeks. At that point, the face of Chandler Street will change once again. And it’s not going to be the last time that the street changes, as it is pretty much a constant evolution at the hands of Termini these days.