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Restaurant Notes: Silo City hopes to open restaurant, education center in August

Silo City, the grain-elevator-centered industrial campus turned arts site, is getting its own restaurant and educational center.

Since 2012, artists and industrial heritage seekers have been drawn to the towering, decommissioned grain-milling facility to explore and perform. So far, they’ve been roughing it, said Rick Smith, president of Rigidized Metals and Silo City owner.

“The real reason for building a restaurant is to have a place to rest,” Smith said. “To use the potty, and to have a warm place.” Once Smith weighed the investment it would take, he decided to broaden the building’s mission. “It’s like a visitors center, but it will have a bar, drink and food,” he said. “A civilized shelter and place for discussions.”

The place will be called Duende, a Spanish term that can be loosely defined as “having soul,” especially when associated with music, dance and spoken poetry. The project is in the permitting stage, Smith said, and the goal is to open in August.

The two-story building at 87 Childs St., now Silo City Row, was built in 1921 as an office building for the flour factory. Downstairs it’ll have a bar and restaurant, run by partners Andrew Minier, a former Kissing Bridge employee, and Jerry Sheldon, former owner of Lancaster Tanks.

Upstairs will be space for art installations, poetry readings, industrial heritage seminars and other events, Smith said. In addition, “we’re doing a reference library on the region’s history and other things related to our area, from the Senecas all the way through to grain milling.”

The bar will have four to eight draft lines, and incorporate elements from the grain silos themselves, including iron beams that last helped hold up 67,000 bushels of wheat in the Marine A elevator.

Smith said he didn’t have details on the food program yet, but expected to offer a café-level menu.

The Duende partners plan to showcase the Buffalo artistic community, not just sell beer. “There’s a unique audience coming to Silo City, driven by art,” Minier said. “We want to build around the people who have already made this an interesting place to be.”

BOSS closed: BOSS, the restaurant at 1735 Hertel Ave., has closed. Owner Michael Vaccaro announced the decision June 30 on his Facebook page. With a name that was an acronym for Buffalo’s Original Steak and Seafood, it opened in February 2014 at the site of the former Fiamma.

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