My new Saturday routine is just about down to a science. It pretty much revolves around a trip down to Braymiller Market to pick up breakfast items for the weekend, before grabbing a smoothie at Revive (this time it was the ‘Weight Loss’ – banana, almond milk, spinach, cinnamon, and chia seed). From there, I tend to mix it up – maybe with a visit to the Pierce-Arrow Transportation Museum, a nearby café, or to any number of pop-ups.
This past Saturday, I found myself at Eat Off Art‘s holiday pop-up, featuring artist Imani XIII. Eat Off Art is the latest venture of husband and wife artists and entrepreneurs Edreys and Alexa Wajed. Alexa told me that it was a spur of the moment decision to open up the pop-up, as the space suddenly became available. Being located on the same block as Realm (temporary location), and Fitz Books was an added incentive to secure the retail location during the months of November and December.
Aside from a rotation of featured artists, Eat Off Art also stocks art prints (by Edreys, Alexa, and their son Emeka), original art, clothing, jewelry, totes… “and the highly anticipated beanies are on the way,” according to Alexa. She also told me that she was working on stocking some grab ‘n’ go baked goods (coming soon).
Another great aspect of Eat Off Art is that there is an internal doorway that leads to Fitz Books, which is very convenient. I stopped over to the bookshop during my visit and picked up a copy of Asphalt Nation. As I was perusing more of the selections, I overheard a customer ordering a Liege waffle. I also heard her raving about the waffle. So I asked her if I could take a photo of her waffle, once it was served up. She told me that she would rather buy me a waffle, if I would sit down with her and enjoy it. How could I say no to that?
As we awaited our waffles to arrive, she informed me that her name was Roza Quinn, and that she had made the trip downtown from Brant, NY. Not only was she a big fan of the bookshop, she was also a big fan of the waffles. She told me that she made the trek for a book, a waffle, and to pick up a pair of earrings by Alexa at Eat Off Art. The more we talked, the more I realized that Roza was a poster child for Downtown Buffalo. She was raving about all of the reasons that she loves coming downtown, and even mentioned that she felt that it was time to start looking to move into the city.
I must admit that I was not expecting my initial visit to Eat Off Art to entail eating a Leige waffle with my new friend Roza at Fitz. Had I anticipated that, I might not have had that smoothie before my visit… thankfully it was the Weight Loss smoothie that I opted for – typically, I eat pretty lean in the morning. But I must say that every bite of the waffle was worth it. Roza, and Fitz, had won me over.
I am hoping that the direction of Downtown Buffalo continues to head this way, but instead of pop-up shops, we start seeing more and more permanent brick and mortar businesses. Of course, if testing the market is what it takes, then by all means, let the pop-ups proliferate. With more people living downtown, and more conveniences “popping up,” hopefully this fledgling retail trend will continue to see an uptick. That means that it’s up to all of us to switch up our own routines, to see what else is out there, in places that might not be on our radar as of yet. I promise you that it will be gratifying and rewarding.
Fridays and Saturdays | 12pm – 6pm