Those looking for another reason to spend time in Delaware Park have a new option: A restaurant and bar featuring "contemporary global cuisine."
The Terrace @ Delaware Park opened Thursday in the upper level of the historic Marcy Casino, marking the first time in more than a decade that the facility will be open to the public on a regular basis year round, officials said.
Some park neighbors applaud the opening, but also wonder about potential problems.
Emily Clark, who lives nearby and often walks her dog in the park, likes the new restaurant, but is a little concerned about parking.
"It’s a great idea. I think it’s neat there is going to be something else here," she said. "I do wonder where people are going to be parking, especially for Shakespeare in the Park."
Kristin Elwood lives near Bird Avenue and also thinks the restaurant is a good idea, but wonders if litter will be an issue.
"The space should be used. It’s a good idea," Elwood said as she walked her pet beagle.
"I’m constantly picking up garbage, and she picks up every piece of garbage," Elwood said, pointing to her dog.
To gauge support for the new restaurant, organizers last year surveyed about 200 park neighbors, including residents living on Rumsey Road, Lincoln Parkway, Windsor Avenue, "all the way down to Bird," said Stephanie Crockatt, executive director of Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, one of the partners in the project.
The survey showed that 80 percent of neighbors were in favor of the plan.
The remaining 20 percent indicated four main concerns, Crockatt said, including making sure the restaurant closes at 10 p.m., proper lighting, parking congestion and security.
The restaurant owners, city officials and Olmsted Parks representatives worked together to address each of those issues:
• Closing: Under its contract, The Terrace @ Delaware Park is required to conclude food and drink orders in time to close by 10 p.m. Therefore, the last dinner seating is at 9 p.m. Last call for the bar is at 9:40 p.m.
• Lighting: Additional trail lighting will be installed in Rumsey Woods over the summer, Crockatt said.
• Parking: Restaurant owners are working with the nearby Albright-Knox Art Gallery to use its parking lot after the gallery closes at 5 p.m., said co-owner Jason Davidson.
"That’s 135 spaces," Davidson said.
In addition, city officials have agreed to increase parking enforcement, especially along Rumsey Road, Crockatt said.
And the Conservancy will begin restoration of the landscape between the Marcy Casino and the Rose Garden starting in early to mid-April. An existing parking area in the front will be removed and relocated closer to Lincoln Parkway to provide handicapped parking and an accessible pathway to the Marcy Casino.
• Security: Davidson and co-owner Mike Shatzel have installed new security cameras around the building, Crockatt said.
The Terrace bar opens at 4 p.m. with dinner service starting at 5 p.m. Brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays will begin later this spring, Davidson said.
"It’s another day of progress in the city," said Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown.
Since 2006, Brown has committed more than $850,000 in capital funding for the Marcy Casino. Structural improvements to the city-owned site include: deck, railing and column reconstructions on the terrace, a new elevator, window replacement and stone work on the exterior of the building.
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 Terrace will continue to host wedding banquets and other private functions in the building’s lower level.
The restaurant menu, hours of operation and other information are on The Terrace’s website.