When we think about iconic old taverns that have fallen by the wayside, Rendezvous is one of them. The last time I wrote about the revered, and sorely missed, former tavern was in 2013. At the time, the owner of the building (520 Niagara Street) was looking for an operator to open the turnkey business. Unfortunately, the retro booths in the back had been stripped out of the place, but the rest was still intact. There was even a beloved little patio in the back (off the parking lot) that was in pretty good shape.
Today there is a different property owner who is now looking to sell the building – also home to a Chinese restaurant. The building is a lot bigger than it looks from Niagara Street – taking a gander at the Pennsylvania side, the structure extends way back, exposing plenty of potential for someone to do something significant on this high profile street corner. While the Chinese restaurant still has a nine year lease, the rest of the building could become a real neighborhood showcase with the right person at the helm.
A new facade for both storefronts would go a long way, as the faux stone look is very dated. The interior of the Chinese restaurant could stand to be dressed up as well – in Buffalo, the cheap/bland box Chinese restaurant formula is par for the course, unfortunately. There are seven residential units throughout, even though one of those units might lend itself to a small commercial conversion on Pennsylvania.
As for the old Rendezvous, I did get a chance to check out the inside, which I thought was going to be in unsalvageable shape. Actually, that’s not the case. The deco bar is still there, as is the backbar. The front of the venue could be brought back to life without a huge overhaul, but the back room is pretty much a shell. The patio is completely gone, unfortunately. Even the nice little tree has been lopped off. But that doesn’t mean that someone could not recreate that same look and feel, with an outdoor bar, trellis, vines, etc. There is also a lot and a half that comes with the property for customer parking, as well as a one-car garage along Pennsylvania for a tenant.
Someone could do a real bang-up job at this corner, by creating a much more vibrant and inviting destination.
The Rendezvous building, and the empty lot (514 Niagara), are now on the market for $495K.
Get connected: Nicholas Giambra (716) 239-6432