Developer Rocco Termini won approval today for a downtown restaurant he plans to fashion out of eight to 10 metal shipping containers.
Dog é Style, to be built close to the Catholic Health System headquarters now under construction, got a green light from the Planning Board to proceed. No Planning Board member commented on the eyebrow-raising name of the restaurant, though members were concerned about what color the restaurant would be.
The plan calls for the shipping containers to be stacked on top of each other, covering concrete, to create two floors. They come in three colors: blue, green and red, and one of the colors will be selected for the restaurant, Termini said.
“It’s something that’s being done all over the country,” Termini said of using the shipping containers.
Millions of the empty containers can be found in the United States, because it costs more to send them back to China than what they are worth, he said.
The 3,000-square-foot restaurant, planned for a narrow vacant lot at 128 Genesee St., between two buildings, would feature patios on two levels and specialize in hot dogs and beer.
Developer Fred LoFaso, who plans to buy an adjoining property and has it under contract, said he supports the project. But it would block a fire exit in his building, he said.
Termini called the existing fire exit illegal and said it lacks an easement. The board approved the restaurant plan and left it to the city’s codes department to work out the fire exit issue.
The board also approved plans for Habibination, a hookah lounge in the former Ambrosia restaurant at 467 Elmwood Ave.
The lounge would not prepare food onsite and not serve alcohol, owner Amir Abbas told the board.
Patrons could order food from Nektar or Casa DiPizza and have it brought in, he said.
Abbas, who was born in Egypt, owns hookah lounges in Amherst and Niagara Falls.
The board deferred on Abbas’ request to use an outdoor patio because of questions about whether the lounge would be classified as a tobacco shop or an eating and drinking establishment.
Tobacco shops can allow smoking inside, not outside, while eating and drinking establishments can allow smoking outside, but not inside, said Assistant Corporation Counsel Alan Gerstman.
The Common Council must also approve the hookah lounge before it can open.