Updated May 24, 2017: Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub will officially launch its renovated property with a June 3 grand opening, it announced on its Facebook page.
The owners of Blackthorn Restaurant & Pub, having bought the rest of the South Buffalo block, have made a big bet on their neighborhood’s future.
Patrick Lalley and brother-in-law Larry “Hugger” Adymy are nearing completion on a $350,000 project to expand the capabilities of the restaurant at 2134 Seneca St.
The front of the building was removed and rebuilt along classic Irish pub lines. Bathrooms were redone, and a stone-framed gas fireplace was added to the barroom.
Outside, a second-story steel balcony will be added above the existing patio, so the restaurant can offer two stories of outside eating. That should add about 40 dining seats on balcony, Lalley said. If weather cooperates, that should be done by March 1.
Next to that, Blackthorn will offer an enclosed picnic grove of landscaped green space. Games like outdoor ping-pong and cornhole are planned, and firepits, with the area open to customers, or for catered events. A 50-spot parking lot will be finished as weather allows this spring.
The menu, known for Buffalo and Irish standards, will be updated around Eastertime, Lalley said, to coincide with the project’s completion.
Lalley, a lieutenant in the Buffalo Fire Department, bought the place with Adymy in 2005. Opened as Early Times in 1976, the tavern was renamed Blackthorn after it changed hands in 1994. It drew a visit from television food personality Guy Fieri in 2009.
[Read: Notre Dame fans find themselves at home at Blackthorn]
The current owners bought other properties on the block. Then about two years ago, they considered the future. “Are we going to be here for a long time? We both have kids, our families love it,” Lalley said. “We decided, let’s make another 10-year plan.”
The partners invested about $300,000, Lalley said. They also got a $50,000 grant from the state’s Better Buffalo Fund, four or five Seneca Street buildings to benefit.
Lalley said he’s encouraged by news of more investment in the Seneca Street corridor. Hook & Ladder Development, owned by fellow Buffalo firefighters, is investing in the area, he noted, and developer Jake Schneider, who launched a $9 million project in a historic commercial building at 2178 Seneca St.
Lalley said he was asked recently if he hoped Seneca would become like Elmwood or Hertel. His dream, he said, was Seneca Street from the 1940s, “all the storefronts filled, vibrant, foot traffic. If we could work back toward that, it could be great.”
He and his partner both live about two minutes from the restaurant. “We love the neighborhood, and want to see it survive,” he said. “We’re definitely not going anywhere.”
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