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The Place owner explains why he sold

Say goodbye to The Place tomorrow.

Owner Kenny Moriarity is closing the bar and restaurant, at 229 Lexington Ave., ending 50 years of administration by his family. He has reached an agreement to sell The Place, he said, but is barred from revealing the buyer.

The neighborhood tavern was ready with a cold glass of beer, a turkey dinner or a piping-hot skillet of Buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese for generations of Elmwood Village residents. Around the holidays returning expatriates crowded its bar, for its Tom and Jerry cocktails and a taste of old Buffalo.

Moriarity’s father, Thomas, and uncle, Edward “Buddy” Flynn took over the neighborhood tavern in 1964. Kenny Moriarity grew up in the bar and said he started working there at age 5, scraping gum off tables, took over in the early 1990s. It closed in 2005 for about two years, but he reopened The Place in 2007 after his father died.

The Place owner Kenny Moriarity Sr. sips one of the restaurant's famous Tom & Jerry cocktails back in 2008. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

The Place owner Kenny Moriarity Sr. sips one of the restaurant's famous Tom & Jerry cocktails back in 2008. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News file photo)

Family, as it turns out, is his reason for saying goodbye. “My best friend lives in Florida, and my two children are moving to Florida,” he said. “I have no relatives up here.”

Regulars have been stopping by since word got out. “We’ve just been reminiscing with the customers who have been there their whole lives, their parents met there, their grandparents, there were second and third generation families coming in.”

Moriarity said he appreciated being a tavernkeeper. “It’s really been an honor and a privilege to serve all these people, and to talk to them throughout their lives and see their grandparents and their children, and their children having children,” he said. “It’s been a great lifestyle for me, and I’ve gotten to meet a bunch of wonderful people.”

What does he have planned for Saturday? A last fine time?

He’s not planning anything special, Moriarity said. “We’ll have a nice time.”

Kenny Moriarity Sr. stands behind the bar of The Place in 2003. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News file photo)

Kenny Moriarity Sr. stands behind the bar of The Place in 2003. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News file photo)

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