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Roost opening in rehabbed Niagara Street condo building

This summer, Martin Danilowicz closed his Connecticut Street restaurant Martin Cooks, where he could serve dinner to 18 people at a time.

On Dec. 16, he opens his new place, Roost, where there are 35 seats at the bar alone. The roomy new restaurant in the former Bison Storage building at 1502 Niagara St. will hold 125 all told, he said.

The menu’s “going to be eclectic, change on a regular basis, as seasonal as possible,” Danilowicz said. It will make use of a rotisserie and a rotating-stone pizza oven.

His sister Paula Danilowicz and Amelia Nussbaumer will help run the kitchen, which shares space with the bar. “You’ll be able to sit at the bar and talk to Amelia or Paula or one of the other cooks, as well as the bartenders,” he said.

The building, now named Crescendo, has been redeveloped into condominiums. On the first floor, visible from the Niagara Thruway as well as Niagara Street, Roost bears a name that “means ‘to congregate and relax’,” the chef-owner said. “At Martin Cooks the logo was a rooster, and I wanted to take my name out of the equation.”

Mural of a rooster adorns an entryway at Roost. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Mural of a rooster adorns an entryway at Roost. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

A Chuck Tingley mural of a rooster adorns one entranceway. Most of Roost’s furniture was custom-made by Brian Wilcox and Dan Topolski, as well as the bar, banquettes and cabinets, he said.

Accomodations at Roost include a semi-private dining room. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Accomodations at Roost include a semi-private dining room. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

Danilowicz is a career chef, but this is his first experience as construction manager, he said. “Six months ago, there was a hole 15 feet deep here, without utilities or anything,” said Danilowicz, sitting at one of his custom-made tables. “Martin Cooks was a pretty easy project. This is a big project. I’ve never done anything like this before.”

The 8,000-pound rotating-deck pizza oven at Roost. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

The 8,000-pound rotating-deck pizza oven at Roost. (Andrew Galarneau/Buffalo News)

He learned a lot, he said, including a lesson about his four-ton pizza oven. “They build restaurants around those, they don’t bring those into restaurants,” he said. “We had to take out all of the windows and all of the doors, and rent a crane to get that into the building.”

Roost will open for dinner Dec. 16, open Wednesday through Sunday, then add lunch Dec. 24, he said. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Porchetta and chicken cooks during a Roost rotisserie practice run. (Photo: Amelia Nussbaumer)

Porchetta and chicken cook during a Roost rotisserie practice run. (Photo: Amelia Nussbaumer)

Send restaurant tips to agalarneau@buffnews.com and follow @BuffaloFood on Instagram and Twitter.

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