This mystery has been solved – thanks to the commentors who chimed in that it was Rendezvous on Niagara Street.
BR readers also reported similar findings via email:
Barry: Johnnie’s rendezvous! From an old guy in Fort myers. I loved it. He hated dairy and would go on and on.
Robin: This definitely was the Rendezvous on Niagara and Pennsylvania. The owner was Johnny and wife Pat. They used to go all over and get fresh fruit and squeeze them for their specialty drinks which they made from recipes. He would tell you what you were drinking and you had to ring the buzzer to get in. They had booths in the back where you would also buzz for the waitress. Tim O’Leary took it over in the mid 90’s – it was called Tim’s Rendezvous (at that time).
Holly: That sounds like The Rendezvous Room on Niagara street.
David: Sounds like Johnny’s Rendezvous on Niagara Street which, sadly, is out of business.
This email was sent to Buffalo Rising, notifying us that the referenced travelers are in town this week. They are on the hunt for a cocktail bar that a friend visited back in the 70’s. While that restaurant is most likely not still around, we felt that it would be interesting (and fun) to see if anyone knows what it is they are referring to.
My friend and her family are traveling to Buffalo, and asked me if I could recommend any restaurants or other places to go. Considering I haven’t been back since graduating, I’m not sure anything I encountered back in the late 70s is still around. I would be so appreciative if you can indulge my description of a very special place and tell me if it is still there so I can steer my friend and her family there. They are taking their father (who is on dialysis) to fulfill a wish he’s had for years to see Niagara Falls.
My friends and I came across this really amazing food / drink experience at a restaurant I can’t recall the name of. My internet search for “locally sourced fresh fruit cocktail bar” turned up a review in Buffalo Rising for Marble & Rye, which sounds like a modern (and super-posh) version of the place I remember, which was a scraggly old place in which hippie college students were very comfortable.
The owner was a colorful, delightfully gruff character (elderly from my perspective as a 18 year old, hahaha) who came out and sat with us in our old, beat-up, decorated with graffiti booth. He told us all about his driving all over to collect his fresh fruits and veggies from local farms that he would need for the day’s meals and drinks. What he was doing was new and we loved it! He was truly a mixologist before that concept was even “a thing” and hand-mixed these delicious, fresh drinks and regaled us with his knowledge of temperature, proportions, mixtures of various fruits in very specific quantities. If I recall correctly, there was a “flight” of cocktails you could order and he was particular and insistent on the order in which one should sample these different blends due to the effects each drink had on your palate…. I can totally see the man I remember setting up lockers for favorite whiskeys.
Do you recognize the place from my description? If it turns out that it is still there, I definitely want to send my friends there. If not, I’ll send them to Marble & Rye.
Thank you so much… from a “stranger” now living in the ever-hotter South.
Sincerely, Gabriella S.
If you have any other mysteries that you would like us to consider posting, for our sleuth readers to potentially solve, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Ash Edmonds