Elmwood Avenue is finally starting to live up to its reputation as a bustling commercial corridor, after experiencing a few turbulent years of ups and downs. With new buildings being erected, the neon tango dancers being returned to their rightful home, public art, and new businesses opening up, there is a palpable feeling of energy in the air.
One of the most exciting blocks being reinvigorated is located near Bidwell Parkway. It started with the opening of Breezy Burrito, continued on with Jack Rabbit, and now, for a trifecta, we have the opening of The Beer Keep (learn more).
My wife and I stopped into The Beer Keep last Friday, and were pleasantly surprised by what we found. First off, the street was alive like I had not seen in years. There were people everywhere, walking, sitting on patios, not only enjoying the nice weather, but seriously digging the healthy concentration of restaurant and bar offerings on the block.
While I am no beer geek, I really enjoyed my initial visit to The Beer Keep. It’s a lively, colorful emporium dedicated to beer lovers. While sitting at the bar, staring at the mesmerizing array of chilled beer cans in the refrigerated cases in front of me, I couldn’t help but overhear the couple next to me chatting with the bartender. Although my beer preference is typically “the lightest available,” it was obvious that the rest of the bar was filled with beer geeks that were loving the seemingly limitless offerings of ales, bocks, lagers, porters, stouts, etc.
It is apparent that The Beer Keep has struck a chord with beer fans on Elmwood, who have now found a new haunt to indulge their exporative and insatiable taste buds.
“We’re incredibly proud to boast not only a beer selection that gives the consumer more options than they can imagine but also a wine list that features exclusively natural or ‘natty’ wines,” said co-owner Cory Muscato. “In this new craft consumer culture we’re living in, people not only want more choices, but the space with which to choose them. The Beer Keep aims to provide both in excess without sacrificing quality.”
It’s obvious that more and more people are appreciating this sentiment, which is why they are gravitating towards the restaurants and bars that are accommodating their wants and desires. The Beer Keep is doing its part to bolster the Elmwood dynamics, resulting in throngs of people bar hopping up and down the block.
“All of our partners live in the Elmwood Village, or have in the past. We want the EV to have all the cool and fun things we seek out when we’re in other major cities,” said co-owner Dan Hunter. “Between us, and our friends and neighbors at Breezy Burrito Bar and Jack Rabbit, we’re all locally owned and operated. We want this block to be a destination for our community and anyone visiting Buffalo. Elmwood Village is the iconic neighborhood in Buffalo, and we want to do our part to keep it that way.”
As for the food offerings at The Beer Keep, the decision was made to bring Will Petersen aboard, due to his range of creative abilities.
“Chef Will Petersen outdid himself with our food menu,” said Hunter. “Our concept is obviously food that pairs well with beer, so Chef Will created an elevated backyard picnic menu, emphasizing sharable sides, handhelds, and garbage plates, which can be made vegan. Essentially we’re a vegan restaurant with meat options. Our mac salad, crunchy slaw, baked beans, chili sauce; they’re all vegan and they’re all delicious.”
There are a lot of reasons to love The Beer Keep. With the motto – “More Beer. More Better.” – it’s easy to see that they want to ensure that the beer is always flowing on Elmwood. Plus, more vegan offerings on Elmwood goes a long way for people who are looking for a culinary change of pace with their beer pairings.