Thursday, September 8, 2011

The More Things Change...

The more we want to eat the same. There's never a lack of new restaurants destined to close within two years, here. Enthusiastic entrepreneurs open their sub shops, pizza parlors, ethnic restaurants and diners with high hopes.

Hopes that are too high, actually. More than ten years ago, I read in a trade journal that the minimum cost for opening a successful restaurant that would last beyond five years was 2 million dollars. And it's a given that a restaurant needs to be able to operate at least two years firmly in the red if it's going to make it. That's a helluva lot of capital to acquire, and you can see from a brief history of our area that such advice goes unheeded. I'm remembering the lovely Coffee & Tarot place on Delaware Ave. that closed after barely a few years, to be replaced by a pizza joint that lasted, oh, just over a year, I think.

It's not a horrible location, but it doesn't stand out to the eye, either. And though I visited both incarnations several times each, I still can't recall the name of the cross-street. Which says to me that even though there's a decent parking lot behind it, this place isn't gonna fly as an eatery unless there is major time for it to become entrenched in the local viewfinder, and a majorly good product/service as well.

Sad. That's just one corner of Delaware Avenue... If we looked at Main Street near Winspear, we'd have too many sad tales to tell of sub shops closed, hopes and bank accounts drained. The problem is, folks, you have to have more than a few great recipes and some moxy to make a lasting impression on the Buffalo food scene. You need experience in running front and back of house, working both too. A great location is paramount. But above all, you have to have operating capital; it gives you time to work out the kinks.

For those of us not interested in prepping, but just in eating, there's a clear message: get it Now, before it's gone. If you've been meaning to check out the Palace of Dosas, El Palenque, Falafel Bar, do it. Enjoy it while you can.

And don't forget the old standbys that may be just barely standing by--- I'm sure the neighborhood people thought The Cameo restaurant would never close, but it did. Who knows when the next long cherished taste will disappear? Whether it's a bakery you love, a sweet shop, or the place you know you can always get a great sandwich, don't take it for granted-- eat something good tonight!

Peace, Mari

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