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New restaurant plans to open at Marcy Casino by Memorial Day

The Marcy Casino in Delaware Park, long the site of weddings and banquets, is becoming a full-fledged restaurant.

Restaurateurs Jason Davidson and Mike Shatzel will open The Terrace in the top floor of the three-story structure, overlooking Hoyt Lake.

The restaurant aims to open by the end of May, in time for Memorial Day weekend.

During six years of running weddings and special events in the building, Davidson said he’s lost count of the number of questions he’s gotten about a Marcy Casino restaurant.

“People joke around, saying that the only time they get to come to the Casino, they have to buy a $100 gift for somebody,” he said.

Renovations will be made, and current plans call for about 160 seats, full bar and a menu of shared plates with some farm-to-table fare and beer-garden cuisine, Davidson said.

“It’ll be a very casual concept that will appeal to a broad range of people,” he said.

The executive chef will be Jamie Zynda, who has worked for Davidson on and off for more than a decade, including Roux and during his ownership of Fables Cafe in the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library’s downtown headquarters. Most recently, she has been running the event kitchen at Marcy Casino, Davidson said.

“She’ll continue there with a larger team,” Davidson said. “She’s always done an amazing job for us.”

There will be a draft beer system installed, as well.

“We’re expecting about 20 lines,” he said. “With Mike Shatzel developing the craft beer list, it will certainly be on par with his other establishments, and this location won’t disappoint any beer lovers.”

Marcy Casino, formerly known as Delaware Park Casino, was built for the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition, following the design of architect E.B. Green. The building was extensively modernized in 1961, then restored to a style reflecting its earlier history in 1990.

The Olmsted Parks Conservancy, which has previously received rent from events in the building, should see a substantial benefit from the restaurant, Davidson said. He estimated that between rent and a portion of the restaurant’s sales, the nonprofit parks group should receive $100,000 to $150,000 more per year.

Since the building has already been used for commercial food service, renovations should not be that extensive, he said.

“We’re putting in a fireplace, we’re putting in a bar,” Davidson said. “Tin ceilings, hardwood floors – it’s going to be really sharp.”

Davidson owns Roux, in The Buffalo News building at Washington and Scott streets, and is a partner in Liberty Hound. Shatzel’s restaurant interests include Liberty Hound, Allen Burger Venture, Colter Bay, Moor Pat, the upcoming Thin Man Brewery and Blue Monk, which is closing April 16.

Shatzel has said that he’s confident he’ll reopen a Blue-Monk-style place. In the meantime, some of the Blue Monk food favorites, including duck-fat fries and mussels, should appear on the menu at The Terrace this summer, Davidson said.

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