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Elmwood Market: What It Is And What It Isn’t

03.19.2008 @ 1:26 PM in Buffalo
Elmwood_Market_32.jpg The grande opening (March 17th) for the Elmwood Market & Grill was a success; everything (mostly, save for the beer and some organics, the credit/EBT system was yet to be activated) in place and ready for the steady stream of customers wishing them success and of course, buying things. I was there Monday morning, and seeing as I live accross the street, I'll be there every day no doubt. The atmosphere is a whole lot more inviting than Wilson farms, and less of a chore than Walgreens. I also had a chance to chat a bit with the owners: Dale, Alex, and Tony. The guys are very excited to be on Elmwood and are eager to fit in with the community, asking for suggestions to stock (organics and conventional) and basically trying to get a feel for the area. Elmwood_Market_26.jpg Since Latina's closed last spring, the community has been longing for a new place to shop. Unfulfilled talks of Dash's, Tops, and Whole Food's filling the void that Latina's left put despair in the area. No one wants to be let with a crummy Wilson Farms; the added burden has had a negative effect on the store, overcrowding at times and leaving the store more haggard than it has been in years. Thus, the Elmwood Market has many shoes to fill... have they picked the right ones to tackle? We'll see. Read on for my initial assessment of the store and its role for the community.

The Elmwood market is...

  • Your Morning Stop - the Breakast Combo (any breakfast sandwich, coffee and two hashbrowns for $3.99) is sure to be a winner in the morning. pick up some cold cuts, cheese, a few Costanza rolls, and you have lunch fixin's for a week. I'll have my good buddy Kirk report back on how that works out for him. He was a big fan of X-cel. I'll start getting the breakfast special as soon as I use up my Wilson's Coffee Bucks.
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  • A Cheap (and good) Grill and Deli - In the wake of X-cel, getting something to eat left you with Jim's or Just Pizza. While both are amazing places to eat and definite Buffalonian mainstays, I doubt anyone's gut will survive a sustained diet of either. You can and will get full for under $10 bucks, most sandwiches won't take you past 6 bucks; all 12' subs are only $6.49ea. as for the deli meats? I'll do a little research, but I hear the meats are cheaper than Tops. As of right now, the grilled chicken sandwich is my favorite, and nothing is better than a sammy on a Costanza roll.
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  • A Essentials Market - Obvious, but the shelves are stocked with enough goods that you will only need to head to Tops for produce or that giant stock-up I hear you people that buy food do once a month. I haven't had groceries in my house for a year, partly due to laziness and partly due to my pride of not wanting to be loaded down on the bus. I still may not. Why, with a pantry next door, I'll just dash down and get what I need. In the next week or so, I'll have a price comparison between Wilson farms, Walgreen's, and Elmwood Market on the essentials like milk eggs, tp, etc.
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  • A Safe Place to Shop - I have never seen so many security cameras in one place before. There is even a cam pointed on the street by the store, and everything is hooked into the video system. This was a common fear of impending trouble but i can assure you these guys have it covered. In addition to the cameras, there is a no single beer can/bottle policy, aiming to keep the riff-raff from hanging around panhandling for change to get a 40oz. I'm sure someone will make a try to knock this place over, but the deterrent factor is huge.

The Elmwood Market is not...

  • A Wilson Farms Killer - Wilson Farms serves a valuable purpose and always had. Once people get used to the Market, the Farms will go back to what it was.... a late night beer/smoke/munchie stop. A little healthy competition is good for everyone, and when the Market closes at 11pm, Wilson's is and will still be the place to go for the afterhour goods.
  • One of "those" places - As with all good things, people want to fail the market before it has a chance to mess up. Supposedly, the guys who own the market own a few stores on the east side that are in sorry condition. I haven't been to these places but this is the "dirt" that I've heard the most. I really hope that this won't happen to their Elmwood location, and I don't think it will. The place is just too nice to let it go to shit, and the spacious location will prevent the overclutter that leads to dumpy grocers. However, this is all relative to the amount of support given to it by the community. Hold them accountable for a great store and support them and the Elmwood Market should be here for years to come.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the Market. I've talked with Dale and Alex and they really seem to want what's best for the community. Everyone at the Market is very friendly, inviting questions and even letting a blogger like me get all nosy. Elmwood_Market_25.jpg

[Ironman tought us that gang signs are "totally cool." ]

That means that you need to go in there and say hi, tell them a bit about what you want to see stocked at the Market. You can also head to their website and send them a note, and read their welcome to the community. The owners will be in the store for the first month before leaving the store in the hands of the managers; don't wait to say hello. This is your Market, get involved. Elmwood_Market_28.jpg

[Good luck you guys! Thanks for the T-shirts - Buffawhat & Sai One ]

You can check out the rest of the pictures of the Elmwood Market in my flickr set, just click below.., thumbs.jpg

Elmwood Market: Customer #2

03.17.2008 @ 3:08 AM in Buffalo
The staff at the new Elmwood Market deli & Grill could be seen scurrying around last night till the wee hours of the morning, preparing to unleash a much needed asset to the Allentown end of the Elmwood Village. The weekend pushback of their open date proved just enough time; they were ready like they said, 7am Monday morning. I walked in behind a fellow bus commuter and quickly scanned the shelves as I headed to the back to gather my morning caffeinated goods. the clusterfuck that seems to plague most mini grocers was not to be seen. the shelves were heavily stocked but the gap between the aisles rivaled Wegman's. They had no deli sandwiches ready yet, but they assured me that once things got into a groove, I would be able to grab a fresh sub even as early as I come in (7-7:30). For a quick stop in the morning, I am very pleased. This will be the first of many reviews as well, taken from a general customer with a focus on the community needs and concerns. The Elmwood Market can be found on the corner of Elmwood and North, in the old DVDdot location. There is (blessed) adjacent parking as well.

Stache: Epoch Fail

02.01.2008 @ 2:14 PM in Buffalo
stache.jpg In case you haven't noticed, Stache has vacated yet another building on Elmwood (830). Here's the official word from Sweet and Dirty's Myspace blog:
  • Well its official, Stache is Goin,Goin Back,Back...Home thats right Erin and I have made the decision to merge Stache back with Sweet and Dirty. For some reason it happened again, I was made an offer i could not refuse. So HUGE! It's an amazing feeling to go back to job security and a PAYCHECK! I've loved every min of having a store and thank you to everyone that supported me! I'm having a big sale on pretty much everything in the store thats not bolted down and then if you want to rip it down go for it. So holla at ur boy for more info, I'll be here. thank you from the bottom of my heart! Joe
In other words: FAIL. Why would anyone take up the "offer of a lifetime" to move from your own independent branded store, on the 800 block of Elmwood no less, to your (ex?) girlfriend's chick store in the back corner of her shop? In, my opinion, Stache is over as a standalone store because Joe didn't have the skills or the care to run his own shop. His hours were off and on, and many time the "open" sign would be lit, but the door locked and no one to be found. In fact, I was never able to make it into his store (on 830) to shop because it was always  "closed." stache3.jpg The sad thing was that his store was actually pretty sweet. From the few local handmade lines that he carried to the American Apparel basics, I think he could have made it work if he was a bit more dedicated to being IN the store and OPEN. You can't sell shit with your lights off. Sweet and Dirty was the start, off Potomac next to Sunday Skate and BMX; Erin (along with her mentors, I'm sure) made it a success. Now, she paid it forward and gave her man his own start, only to have him close two stores and slink back to a corner in the back. I hope Erin has learned a lesson from this: If your lover is bored and wants a piece of your success, give him a job, not his own store.

Tabree Restaurant: Plans

01.29.2008 @ 11:09 PM in Buffalo
astoria.jpg First off, I'll really miss Astoria (423 Elmwood). We never had enough time to prepare; with a shady hasty announcement (two days prior) to staff and patrons that their last day was New Years Eve, I managed to get in for the final supper and spend that last moment with the best cajun-grilled porkchops I've ever had. days later the paper was up and word that a French Bistro called Tabree was going to replace it. However, a "swift transition" it has not been. Its been almost month, and I've seen the lights on plenty of times, moving shadows cast against the privacy paper, but never enough to get a good glimpse of progress. Till now. An accidental (maybe?) gash in the paper granted me a peek and a few photos, including one of the renovation plans.. tabree1_web.jpg
  • It seems they managed to rip up all the old booths and cleared out the partition to the kitchen. On the far right side a bar will go, and the front facing kitchen door will be relocated to the adjacent side. From what it looks like, there will be 27 indoor dining seats, bar included, with the front window areas converted to booths. Patrons of Astoria will notice that the center dividing booth will be rebuilt, extended, and split up into two tables of four and one two seater by the wall
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[would you like a larger peak? click above to embiggen]

Aside from the bar in the main dining area, and the new booths, there doesn't look to be too much more change from the original set up. I have no idea what a French bistro will offer, but they have a bar so I'm all for it. I just hope they can hurry it up. Though I'm excited for a new place to eat on Elmwood, I know Tabree won't be anything like Astoria. It was Lolo and Dimmer, Chris and Goldpenny that made Astoria memorable, not to mention the incredible food. So many good times were had. I even met Angel for the first time in the back kitchen; I have Astoria to thank for helping me cultivate some of my best friends on the block. Oh well, here's to new memories and some good food, eh?
  • Update: I heard in a roundabout way that the owners plan to open in April, which is a lot longer time than even I expected. However, I also heard of some very interesting plans to create a giant waterfall in the patio area.

SaiOne: My Narcissistic Daily Dose

01.25.2008 @ 2:23 PM in Culture

 sai_one_1.jpg [Brooklyn Industries, left. and Jib Hunt, lower right]  Angel is my left nut. Kinda sweet and endearing of me eh?  We hang out every day, either at my office or his store, Sai One. Since he moved shop to the 800 block on Elmwood, it's never been so much fun. The amount of hot guys (bears too!) walking in and out have tripled, and with more merch moving, there's more stuff getting shipped in from NYC. That being said, I get the loverly privelage of trying on all the smedium fitting items. yea, it's smedium. Higher end lines have been whittling down the standard sizes a lot more lately: small is extra small, medium is a smedium or regular small, and large is a medium allovasudden.  When I try everything on, Angel tells me I'm growing a belly (LIES!!!) and that I'm getting huge, because the mediums are fitting nicely now. He's just yealous of mah sexiness. All things aside, the stuff at Sai One you won't find anywhere but NYC, and only if you know how to get places. And you can also rest assured that Angel and his biz partner try to only stock one of each, no copy cats around herr. sai_one_2.jpg You can click below for a flickr set with a lot more photos of yours truly looking dapper and smug in some new arrivals... I'll warn you that if you like something you saw on me, you should come get it before I get paid. Game on Bitches.

  • P.S. - Angel has a website coming soon for the store, so we took a whole lot of merchandise pictures, like the pillows, and purses, shoes, and candles. He stocks a lot more than skinny boy clothes, but I can't wear a cocktail dress or a candlestick now can I?

Pier 1 demolished, Bank of America coming soon.

01.05.2008 @ 5:26 PM in Buffalo
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[click the pic to embiggen via flickr]

They ripped down the vacant Pier 1 on Wednesday, and in its spot will soon be a shiny new Bank of America, relocated from the Utica street. A slight bit of irony is that last August, Warren Buffet bought some Bank of America and sold his Pier 1 ownings. Anyways, The Elmwood village dug their claws into this one --per usual-- and the new plans are for a faux two story building with 4 bike spots, a greenspace and OMGPARKING! Miraculously, everything was approved and we should start to see some new construction start soon. On a latter Elmwood note:
  • Astoria is closed for good. -New Years eve was the last night. This is partly do to Elmwood (the EVA and the people) ignoring the Bryant section, and adds to the sad trend of closing stores and turnovers on that block. Solid Ground closed because the owner was a bitch and the food sucked, and Angel moved his store (Sai One) to the 800 block, as did Atelier. Astoria had some of the best food on the strip and no one appreciated that enough. Mythos is the closest equivalent, but its still not the same.

I Found My Christmas Tree

12.06.2007 @ 9:12 PM in Culture
christmas.jpg I stopped into Positively Main St, on Elmwood (makes no sense, I know) and picked up this year's christmas tree. It's a little small, but I needed something to top last year's snowbot purchase. Whadaya think? the homos on Elmwood have deemed this a red Christmas (Studio 806, Stuyvesant Gallery, Just Pizza, Room... all red and white lights) so the lights are in style and they chase up and down.

You know you are an Urban Hipster when:

11.21.2007 @ 2:30 PM in Buffalo

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  • You think Buffalo has an awesome music scene and cite the Goo Goo Dolls being mildly famous in the late 90’s as evidence of it.
  • Fidel Castro hats seem like a good idea.
  • You think the glare people give you when you’re constantly pulling out your iPhone is one of jealousy.
  • You think of being a regular at the old Pink as a life goal.
  • You fail to see the shocking similarities between the quality of the products being sold at the Elmwood Art Festival and Walden Avenue Super Flea.
  • You’re completely oppose to chain restaurants and refuse to eat at them on principle. Thankfully, Starbucks is just a coffee shop and it doesn’t count.
  • You pretend you don’t eat at Pano’s.
  • You pretend you do shop at the Lexington Co-Op.
  • Two words. Emo glasses.
  • You read Artvoice for something other than News of the Weird.
  • You think a fishing store will destroy the city but have no problem shipping the Bills to Canada.
  • You think JP Losman should be the Bills starting quarterback. Not because you think he’s better suited for the job (you don’t actually watch football), but because you like his haircut and he lives in your neighborhood.
  • You remind everyone how great it is you drive a Hybrid just in case one of them wants to give you that medal you feel you’ve earned for it.
  • You won’t shut up about how great the city is but you don’t have the balls to send your kid to the public schools
  • You refuse to drink anything but wine and microbrews at a bar and turn your nose up and anyone who doesn’t but you’ll still drink Pabst Blue Ribbon to be ironic.
There are few more, so check out the post on WNYMedia. John you are the best at what you do.

The Sai One Custom Hoodie

11.20.2007 @ 4:04 PM in Buffalo
Sai One Hoodie Rock. Star. Angel made me this Hoodie over the weekend. By hand, fit for me. I feel like a big ol' homo wearing custom made threads. Ok, a warm big ol' homo cause this sucker is toasty! This was a prototype and I think Angel has plans to make a few more in different variations. If you want one, stop by his store on 818 Elmwood and let him know, or email him. Just remember, its Sai One; meaning this is the only piece in this style he'll make. Check out the flickrset with larger shots of the hoodie

Snap! – Firebrand is zen

11.18.2007 @ 11:37 PM in Lifestream

Snap! - Firebrand is zen

Taken 18 Nov '07, 11.37pm EST PST.

Whats up to Jessica from FireBrand, the hottest new shoe store on Elmwood! Check her out on 715 Elmwood. Thanks for the snap! Rockstar!