Things are starting to heat up on Elmwood, not just with a slew of development projects, but also with a number of businesses opening. One of those businesses, The Buffalo Kitchen Club, is now slated for the former Epic Restaurant location at the corner of Elmwood and Bryant (a Sinatra & Company building).
The Buffalo Kitchen Club is a family-owned and operated establishment, being run by, Raelean McGee, her husband Shawn, and brother-in-law Stanley Booker.
Raelean told me that the restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, but that she expects the lunch crowd to be a real driver of the business. “People are looking for good places to go to lunch,” she told me. “We go out to eat all the time, so we know about Buffalo food. That’s what we do in this city – we eat. Our chef, Dwight Land III, will be preparing Buffalo food favorites – (spins on) the top dishes from all of the places that we love. We feel that between the new decor and the feel-good Buffalo food, customers will love what we have to offer.”
An unusual aspect of The Buffalo Kitchen Club will be the dining memberships offered. Customers who frequent the restaurant will be rewarded with incentives to return. One of those incentives will be ‘specialty meals’ not found on the daily menu.
“For lunch, we’ll be serving everything from burgers to quesadillas… and wings of course,” said Raelean. “Dinner will be along the lines of steaks and pastas, soups and salads. We’re also going to have brunches on Saturdays and Sundays. I can’t tell you the number of times that we’ve wanted to go to a great brunch on a Saturday, for bloody-marys and bottomless mimosas. Brunches should be all weekend long. It’s going to fit the Elmwood vibe perfectly.”
If the owners can pull something off that would be a mix between the old Solid Grounds café and Jimmy Mac’s (while being consistent), then they should have a real winner on their hands. These types of restaurant formulas (should be) relatively simple, but so often they are over-thought and under-executed. According to Raelean, they are relying upon another family member – Shawn’s father – who has been in the restaurant industry for three decades, to ensure that everything is operating according to plan.
“We were all born and raised in Buffalo,” Raelean told me. “We know all about the restaurants. We believe that we know what people are looking for, and that’s what we want to give them. Fingers crossed, we are aiming for an August opening.”
Lead image: Across the street – the Elmwood Crossing project has landed a corner tenant, Five Star Bank