At long last, 185 Allen Street will be occupied. After sitting vacant for decades, Amanda and Bruce Wieszala will be opening Beacon Grille at this long abandoned location, thus bringing added life and vitality, and more great food and drink options, to Allentown.
Amanda says that this restaurant is something that the couple has dreamed about for 15 years. During that time, they have worked in a number of culinary capacities, including their current positions at Signature Development Group (Bruce, acclaimed chef) and the Croce Group. Amanda brings her managerial talents to the table, while Bruce is an acclaimed chef. Together, they are planning on introducing a wood fire restaurant concept to an already eclectic mix of Allentown bars and eateries.
“Our restaurant will be different than anything currently in Buffalo because we plan to have an open kitchen concept with Buffalos only Argentinian style wood fire grill and a wood fire oven on display to evoke those warm wood fire feelings and smells,” says Amanda. “Much like our concept and mission we want warmth to permeate our entire business model from food and décor to service with genuine warmth and care. We plan to have only 12 bar seats, 65 dining seats inside with an additional 74 seats on the outside patio that we plan to partially enclose and heat for the colder winter months. This was a strategic choice to establish ourselves as a restaurant with a bar, not a bar that offers food, we want the bar to accentuate the dining experience, not be the sole reason to operate. Buffalo is a city that loves outdoor dining and we are very excited to have one of the largest patios in the city. Through the devastation of Covid we also saw that Buffalo is a city willing to adapt, creative seating and dining solutions and transitioning outdoor dining space for year-round use is now something Buffalo diners fully support, and we look forward to bringing a new option to the Buffalo outdoor dining scene.”
According to Amanda, the name “Beacon” was chosen because it’s sentimental to her family, but it also plays off the element of wood fire cooking. It’s a signal that draws travelers to safety, and to the comfort of a beautifully cooked meal, and to sit by the flames of a hearth to warm their hands, thus their souls. Amanda and Bruce will be hands-on operators, which will ensure that everything is executed properly.
As for the menu offerings, Amanda and Bruce say that the food and drinks will be superb, yet affordable. They want Beacon to become a place where everyone feels comfortable and satisfied, without breaking the bank.
Seeing that the wood fire restaurant concept is completely different, the bar program will also mix things up a bit. Amanda and Bruce created the drink offerings with Allentown in mind.
“Our craft cocktail program will give equal thought and time to our spiritless menu featuring non-alcoholic creations so delicious and beautiful you wouldn’t even realize they are zero alcohol proof,” says Amanda. “The spiritless drink segment is something that is severely lacking in Buffalo right now and is definitely on an upward trend across the board. Many consumers are turning to healthy and sober living and phrases such as ‘Sober October’ and ‘Dry January’ are pushing these practices to the forefront of our market segment. Beacon Grille will ensure that these guests needs are no longer on the back burner of the business. A very reasonably priced wine list and curated local beer selection will round out our offerings. Beacon Grille will be a restaurant that is complimented by a sophisticated bar program, NOT a bar that serves food. We believe that this is the direction Allentown needs to move in to keep the neighborhood safe and trending in a positive and sustainable direction.”
Similar to the unique drink program, drawing inspiration from the needs and wants of Allentown, the atmosphere will be equally pleasing to nearby residents, as well as travelers and adventurers from around the region.
“We do not plan to have any live entertainment, bands or djs,” Amanda expresses. “We will have ambient music and noise levels conducive for conversation while dining and plan to be respectful of noise levels for the live in tenants upstairs with the addition of sound proofing and noise dampening panels. The noise level should reflect the cozy atmosphere not be chaotic. All you will need at Beacon Grille is good company, delicious food, a hand-crafted beverage, and exceptional service, no additional entertainment will be needed.”
So, when will we all get a chance to try out this delightful new restaurant concept?
“Beacon Grille will start with service 5 days a week at 4:30pm and will expand within the first year to year and a half to serving the community seven days a week,” says Amanda. “We also have plans to expand within the first two years to offering lunch service as we have been pleasantly surprised to see how many diners enjoy lunch at ABV, Café 59 and Gabriel’s Gate each day.”
It looks as if Allentown has hit a home run with Beacon. To think that 185 Allen Street sat idly by for 20 years… thankfully those days of inactivity are over, and a bright new day awaits. Talk about a beacon of hope!