Back in its heyday, supper clubs were all the rage in Buffalo. Now, due to COVID, one live music venue is turning back the clock, by creating a Saturday Supper Club that rivals the best of ’em. Rec Room co-owner Chris Ring never thought that he would end up in the restaurant business. But with no light at the end of the tunnel, pertaining to the live music industry, he decided that it was time to change his tune.
Actually, it was his business partner Dale Segal, who hails from Amsterdam, that suggested the idea of the supper club. During his travels in Europe, Segal enjoyed the lively atmospheric vibe, and felt that the supper club formula would lend itself to Rec Room. Ring agreed, feeling that the combination of food, drink, and entertainment suited Rec Room and Chippewa.
This is now the fourth Saturday that the supper club concept has been underway, and Ring is surprisingly upbeat about this latest turn of events. “The supper club is something that we have not seen in a long time in Buffalo,” Ring explained. “Before we launched the concept (with a modern day spin) we began introducing roaming violinists, sax players, and drummers, to see how people would react to live performers while they were eating and drinking. Now we have full bands play, while people sit down at the tables. The idea of a restaurant was a complete nightmare to me… that’s not where I come from. But with the live music, we’re staying true to the Rec Room concept, with the state of the art lights and video, lasers, smoke machines, and live entertainment. ”
Each patron receives a 4 course meal accompanied by entertainment that was carefully crafted to complement each meal.
Ring also said that he owed it to his staff to introduce the supper club concept, as well as patio dining, Sunday brunches, etc. “At the beginning of COVID, I thought that we could wait it out,” Ring explained. “But then we realized that it was going to take at least until 2021. And now, with the staff losing that $600 relief, we knew that we had to do something. We started off slowly, to get the staff acclimated, and now we are at full capacity on Saturday nights with between 60 and 70 people (six feet between each table, and other CDC and NYS guidelines in place).”
When asked about the response so far, Ring said that it has been incredible, even though he is aware that many people are still wary of dining inside. That’s why the new patio has been so important. “The City did a great job by allowing restaurants to open and expand their patios,” said Ring. “We never had a patio before, and needed one to be able to compete with the rest of the restaurants that had them. Every business in Buffalo has been affected by the virus, but not every business has been hit as hard as the music venue industry. Our business had to do a complete 180, by adding the dining element. But even with limited capacity, we’re crushing it. We just launched our Sunday brunch. And our Friday night dining has become so popular, once again thanks in part to the patio. It’s great to see all of these patios on Chippewa. It’s somewhat of a return to normalcy.”
Before wrapping up our conversation, I asked Ring to pass along one tidbit that he would like to share with readers. “The no call, now shows are tough on restaurant business, especially during COVID,” he told me. “Due to social distancing, we are limited in our capacity, so when people make a reservation and don’t show up… it hurts. Even if it’s 20 minutes before go-time, please make the effort to call, so we can maybe squeeze in someone else. Because of the reservations, we bought the food, and staffed accordingly, expecting the limited seats to be full… and then some people just don’t show up. Be courteous. Call a restaurant if something comes up… it’s really important. We won’t be mad. We will just try to accommodate someone else that is trying to get in.”
The spirit of Buffalo continues on at Rec Room with with following drinking, dining, and entertainment offerings:
- 4 Course tasting of Asian-American menu (tons of GF,V options)
- DJ w/ Live Musicians
- Fun visuals
- Unique table-side cocktails
- $50 per person. Can accommodate groups of 4-10 people
Hours of Operation:
Dinner + Drinks
Patio Hours: 5pm – 11pm / Indoor Hours: 5pm – close
Patio: 5pm – 11pm
Indoor: Supper Club 7pm – 10pm: Presale Ticket required
10pm – close
Late Night Bites w. DJ Biacco: Reservations recommended
Indoor + Patio: 12pm – 5pm: Reservations recommended
Gluten Free and Vegan options available