The pandemic is not deterring Chef Brian Mietus at Bacchus from pushing harder towards becoming a more well rounded destination on Chippewa. Aside from serving up some of the best food in Buffalo, Mietus feels that there is an important cultural element that must be amplified in the district. And he’s doing his part in a variety of ways. He recently helped to install a 7′ canvas wall medallion created by artist Thomas Asklar on a wall of the back patio.
Mietus told me that when the giant circular work arrived, he was immediately faced with a problem. How to get it hung on the wall? The work, with a metal band fabricated by Black Lab Metal Fab, weighed over 300 pounds and was unwieldy, to say the least. It was something that Mietus had not considered.
Undeterred, he went out and got a super long rope, hooked it up to the artwork, and then took the other end up to a parking ramp, where he tied it to his car and proceeded to haul the work upwards along the wall. Now, I must admit that that strategy would never have occurred to me. But that’s the type of unflappable determination that Mietus possesses.
During the pandemic, Mietus’s wheels have been turning. Not only has he been keeping the lights on at the restaurant, he’s also been thinking of ways that he can help support artists in the community, who he feels are the glue that helps to hold Buffalo together.
“Thomas Asklar did an amazing job creating this medallion,” said Mietus. “I supported three different artists during quarantine. Kristin Brandt did a mural in the courtyard. Frank ‘Chico’ Cravotta did the prints in the dining room. I’m all about creating spaces for artists that don’t have places to show. Since I came to Bacchus in 2005, that has been a goal… it’s a win-win for the restaurant and the artists. But I really do it for the artists, who make 100% of the sales. Next up, we’re transitioning our private dining room into a gallery for local artists, featuring 6-week shows after the pandemic. Kristin is our art director. We will provide the openings, the artists will profit from the sales, and we will make money from the back side when people come to eat and drink. I have a lot of art friends, and I feel that this is important, especially now with the pandemic. If we can provide a place for them to show, with a cool vibe, and support them, then that’s what we’re going to do.”
Bacchus Wine Bar & Restaurant | 56 W Chippewa Street | Buffalo, New York 14202 | 716.854.WINE