In coming months, I’m going to be taking walks throughout a number of WNY commercial districts, to see what’s new, and to learn more about the region’s unique ‘main streets’. As I scribble some thoughts and observations down on a notepad, I will then share them with you.
To begin, last Saturday I walked the length of Hertel Avenue. I started off at The Monocle (1235 Hertel), where Remedy House has been setting up shop on Saturdays throughout the month of August, in the basement of the complex. I was happy to see that the pop-up café had drawn a nice little crowd that had showed up to order delicious iced lattes and pastries. I ordered a latte to go, which was a great way to kick off the day.
At 1207 Hertel, not far away, I noticed that Slice of NY pizzeria is in the process of reopening. Google reviews give it a 4.7 stars out of 5 stars – I’ll have to try it out when it’s back in business. It’s slogan is, “A bite out of the Big Apple.”
During my walk, I came upon two relatively new vintage shops – White Dog Vintage (1241 Hertel), and Queen City Vintage (1478 Hertel). Apparently vintage is alive and well on Hertel, which is great to see, because there was a time when the city was loaded with vintage shops. In recent years, we have seen a number of vintage clothing shops opening on Elmwood, Grant Street, and now Hertel. It’s certainly nice to see!
At 1297 Hertel, one of the more impressive buildings on the avenue, there is a sign on the glass door that reads, “Premier Earth,” which signals that a cannabis dispensary business is on the way (awaiting approval for a special use license). This is a trend that we will continue to see in all districts of Buffalo, and throughout the region. This one in particular could be pretty neat, considering the building’s architectural assets. Let’s hope that they take full advantage of the space. It would be nice to see an impressive flag flying on that pole.
At the corner of Hertel and Colvin, it appears as if the buildout of Lost Creek Brewing is slowly but surely underway. The reawakening of this corner building has been a long time coming. It will be good to see it when it’s finally done. North Buffalo will surely rejoice on that day.
I was happy to see that Hertel finally has a hip sneaker shop called The Spot, which has an entire wall filled with some highly sought after sneaks, as well as a few racks of clothing and accessories. The store has a little walk up – if you’re into sneaker culture, you will definitely want to check it out (1353 Hertel). A sign on the front of the shop touts brands such as, “Anti Social, Heron Preston, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Ksubi, Trapt Official, Fitted Hats.”
There is a section of Hertel that is in a state of flux, with new beginnings, questions, and mishmashes.
Gecko’s (1464 Hertel Avenue) is currently closed and shuttered. Back in 2021, there was an announcement of possibly a major expansion. Now, the building is for sale for $749,999. It comes with a 40 car parking lot, and is considered “turnkey, ” with kitchen equipment.
One door down is Burger IM (now Halal, under new management apparently) – a sign on the window says that it is also home to Moon’s Pizzeria, and a neighbor told me that he heard that it also might also be operating as a ghost kitchen (1460 Hertel Avenue). I would have to say that the banners hanging from the shop front are not doing the operators any favors.
Next door is now El Palacio GK Vibes (1456 Hertel) – I stopped in and chatted with the owners for a bit. They were busy setting up a small buffet station serving up menu items such as carne frita, arroz con gandules, pollo guisado, arroz con gandules, etc. They have applied for their liquor license as well. A sign on their front window states that they have a breakfast menu, a chicken finger hoagie, burgers and fries, wings, taco in a bag, nachos, and a grilled chicken dinner.
One of the highlights of my walk was stopping in to Spoke & Dagger Co.’s new “weird and cool” coffee shop located at 1432 Hertel. The custom built café opens up to their retail shop, which specializes in riding gear, vintage goodies, parts & apparel – all curated for the motorcycle lifestyle. The café features custom built stations, with some design features that are made from upcycled motorcycle parts. You don’t have to be into bike culture to enjoy this place. All you need to know is that the iced loganberry mocha is just about the most yummy drink that you will ever taste. Be sure to rev up your engines for this one!
Nearing the end of my journey, I decided that it was time for a drink. So I stopped into Ciao Ciao Cocktail Lounge at 1368 Hertel. After talking to the bartender, I decided to order the Living Dead – Mi Campo tequila, blackberry sage, Oolong tea syrup, lemon – juiced, and blackberries. It was super refreshing, and as delicious as it looks! I must say that this cocktail lounge has one of the nicer patios around, so be sure to pay a visit before the cold weather sets in.
Before heading home, I noticed that Café on the Avenue (1240 Hertel Avenue) had installed a rather unusual patio, set up alongside the building. It’s a very creative way to accommodate diners. I was very impressed with the look and feel of it – if I wasn’t in a hurry to get home, I would have stopped in for a bite to eat. I will definitely try it out next time I am heading to Hertel.