Acqua recommended to run waterfront restaurant - The Buffalo News
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Acqua recommended to run waterfront restaurant

Buffalo officials have recommended that the operators of Acqua, a restaurant along the Niagara River, take over the Hatch restaurant at Erie Basin Marina.

Common Council members will review the proposed agreement at a committee meeting next week. A vote could come in two weeks. The proposed five-year deal with Riverfront on the Niagara LLC, which operates Acqua, is one of two contracts public works officials prepared.

The Council on Tuesday approved the other contract, a five-year deal with Smith Boys, for operation of the city-owned marina. The agreement includes provisions for gas sales and the maintenance of the gardens and beach.

The Council also approved increases for slip rentals beginning in 2015. The increases average 8 percent for residents and 15 percent for nonresidents over the life of the agreement. The increases are the first since 2002.

Acqua also caters at the Hotel @ The Lafayette and will cater at the Foundry, when it opens this spring in the former FWS furniture store in North Buffalo.

Its proposal to operate the Hatch includes payment to the city of at least $60,000 a year. The proposal calls for the company to pay the city 15 percent of alcohol sales and between 12 and 15 percent of food sales.

The city received two proposals to run the Hatch. The other one, from Frank Berrafato, who operates Mississippi Mudd’s, proposed lower payments to the city.

Meanwhile, the city and Brand-On Services, the former marina and Hatch operator, are in the early stages of arbitration following an audit from Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder. Schroeder’s office maintains that the company owes $515,296 in rent. The company has disputed that figure, contending much of the work it performed was done at the direction of the city and should be deducted from its rent.

In other business:

• Council Member Demone A. Smith voiced concern about how a lead paint survey is being conducted in his district and asked the county Department of Health to stop inspections until a different process can be put in place. Smith said the inspections have upset his constituents, some of whom have been cited for the lead paint.

• A proposal to put a hookah lounge – where patrons share flavored tobacco from a communal pipe – in the former Ambrosia restaurant space, at 467 Elmwood Ave., was sent to committee.

• The Council agreed to spend $50,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to study the city’s growing immigrant population and determine what services it needs.


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