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Buffalo needs a Real Bodega

Elmwood Avenue is making a bit of a comeback. After losing its mojo to Hertel for a short spell, Elmwood is making some strides to bounce back. With relatively new businesses like Breezy Burrito, JT’s, Root & Bloom, Reform Fitness, Thin Man, Inizio, Sole Man and The Cellar, Bureau, Forty Thieves, Ten Thousand Villages, Visual Eyes, HONEST Apothic, Charlie the Butcher, ShopCraft, Squeeze, Jolie Jolie, Revolver, Rin Thai, Gutter Pop Comics, and India Gate (reopening), there’s a growing vibrancy that is now palpable.

Add to that, the Eleven Eleven Condominiums and storefronts (Chason Affinity) at the corner of Forest, the Lofts @ 1020 (Whitesand) near Bidwell, and Elmwood Crossing (Sinatra and Ellicott Development) at Bryant, and it won’t be long before we see an influx of new businesses and residents. It’s been a long time coming, and thanks to added momentum by the Elmwood Bidwell Farmers Market and The Peddler Flea Market, Elmwood appears prime for new concepts. And Duff’s is on the way. I also hear that the former Bullfeathers location is spoken for, and then there’s Stone City Saloon.

Earlier today, as I was examining the corner of Elmwood and Bryant (Elmwood Crossing), I couldn’t help but be hopeful that someone would soon sign up to occupy the former Epic Restaurant location. With a primetime development underway across the street, this corner location is now looking very desirable. In order to market the corner, Sinatra has placed a sign in the window, asking the public for suggestions. I asked around the office, and the word that came back to me was that Buffalo needs a great urban bodega, and this would be the perfect location. The office crew also noted that while Buffalo does have some corner bodegas, they are mostly ratchet (their description, not mine).

I asked the crew what sort of items they thought should be sold at this urban bodega, and they answered, “Packaged and consumer goods, sandwiches, rotisserie chicken, fruits and veggies, newspapers, imported sundries, a decent freezer case, deli sandwiches, street cart breakfast fare, a grab and go coffee stand, and maybe some flowers?” One person even suggested that someone bring back the old X-Cel Market, which was once located on Elmwood, near North. Is John Darowz still around? 

Elmwood still have its fair share of Empty storefronts, there is no denying that. But business on the street is looking bright. It can be fun playing match maker for empty storefronts, when the building owners are willing to play along. In this case, Sinatra Real Estate is listening, judging by the signs in their empty shopfront windows. So how how about a great bodega or Jewish deli? Just thinking about a stacked deli sandwich on fresh rye bread, with a Kosher pickle, a pickled egg, and Johnny Ryan or a local kombucha… now that sounds pretty good!

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Written by 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.

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