During the pandemic, we’ve become conditioned to being fearful that many of our beloved restaurants will not reopen. That said, to think that there are some restaurateurs out there who are considering opening during these uncertain and precarious times is a breath of fresh air. While these determined restaurant souls are few and far between, understandably, they should be commended for their mettle and resolve.
Andrew Balash, owner of Griddle & Greens in downtown Buffalo, is one of those determined business types that has been using his downtime effectively.
Griddle & Greens’s original location was in the Grand Lobby of the historic Ellicott Square Building at 295 Main Street in downtown Buffalo. But Balash said that he could read the writing on the wall, and figured that it would take downtown office workers a long time before getting back to their normal lunch routines. Therefore, he has decided to relocate his restaurant to a stretch of Elmwood could actually use an injection of life, not just due to COVID-19, but in general.
“Restaurant owners should use this downtime to retool their operations,” said Balash. “It’s good business practice. At least paint, or move equipment and clean – there’s always something to be done, and it’s hard to do it when a restaurant is open. I’m taking advantage of the downtown to reformulate altogether. When we were downtown, our best customers were the stragglers who came in around 3pm or 4pm. The market all across the country is changing. People’s eating habits are changing. It’s going to be a while before downtown is busy again – so I decided to take what I learned from the changing trends (and the pandemic) and move to Allentown. The new location will have a different demographic, but our customers are loyal and will follow us.”
Once open, Griddle & Greens will, as the name suggests, serve up “griddled sandwiches and freshly-built salads along with an assortment of soups, sides and house-brewed sweet teas.”
Balash, who moved back to Buffalo from DC six years ago, said that he will capitalize on the Allentown bar crowd, with his “gigantic menu that has everyone covered.” The restaurant will be open “later,” and will eventually have a beer and wine license, if and when it’s possible.
This former tattoo shop and gift/gallery space is a lot bigger than it looks from the street. Once open, there will be elevated window seating, seating along one of the walls, a kitchen in the middle, and room for expansion seating in the back. Take-out will be a big part of the plan. There’s also patio space on one side that Balash is happy about.
Balash hopes to be open by June 10, if all goes according to plan. At that time, he will be a beacon of hope and encouragement for everyone who has been missing Buffalo’s once dynamic food scene.
Griddle & Greens | 125 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo NY