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City Hallways (Sept. 14): Soup's on!

Not your average diner

While out and about Wednesday on assignment on the East Side,  I was looking for a place to grab a bite to eat.

I stumbled upon this place called Urban Diner over by the Central Terminal.

A sign on the door posted the hours of operation: 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Those are strange hours, I thought. How does this place even stay open?

So I walked inside to see what gives.

It looked like a regular diner. The tables were adorned with flower arrangements. There was a really nice mural that took up a whole wall. Servers were delivering food to patrons seated at the tables. There were families and lone diners, with a steady stream of folks coming in.

But what was different about this diner is that you don't have to pay a cent for your food or tip the waiter.

The Urban Diner is a restaurant-style soup kitchen in which a hostess greets and seats diners. Volunteer servers deliver the meals, beverages and desserts to the customers. What's more, anyone is welcome to eat there. Friends of Night People provides the food.

The diner opened in 2008 and is one of many social services provided by the Hope Center on Paderewski Drive. The center also houses a clothing closet, a food pantry, a personal essentials pantry and other services like housing search assistance, job development and homeless outreach.

But it was the diner that got my attention.

"Feels like being in a fancy restaurant, and I've been in plenty in my lifetime," said diner Mary Ann Hauser, who volunteers with Friends of Night People.

Mark your calendars

Earlier this summer, City Hallways reported that the revaluation process that Buffalo started in 2010 was almost complete.

It was at a June meeting of the Common Council that appraisal contractors said they were just about finished with all their data collection and verification.

The next step was to hold a series of public meetings at various locations across the city to educate homeowners on what property revaluation means and to address questions and concerns about taxes going up.

Well, the time is nigh.

A public Revaluation Information Session will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Diefendorf Hall on the University at Buffalo's South Campus in the city's University District.

A presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Stay tuned for additional meetings as information becomes available.


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