If you want to know what sort of vibe Hofbrauhaus Buffalo is going for, consider that its tables and benches were built sturdy enough to let drinkers use them as a stage.
Furniture produced by Amish woodworkers for the massive German-style restaurant is designed to allow a boisterous festiveness common to other branches of the Hofbrauhaus franchise. "You are actually encouraged to get up on them and sing 'ein prosit,' and toast," said Kevin Townsell, managing partner of the Buffalo location.
The former Bison chip dip and Upstate Milk Cooperative plant at 190 Scott St. is becoming a restaurant that can hold about 1,000 customers. It will offer a tall-ceilinged beer hall inside, a beer garden outside, patio tables, and a banquet room.
If all goes well, Townsell said, it'll open on Labor Day. "If we get delayed, we get delayed," he said. "We're doing everything we can to be open Sept. 1."
If you've visited one of the eight Hofbrauhaus locations in the United States, you know what to expect. The restaurant will feature servers in dirndls and lederhosen carrying steins of beer, platters of sausage, schnitzel and sauerbraten, against a backdrop of live music.
About 300 will fit outside, more than 500 inside at long tables, with communal seating for parties under eight to 10. A mezzanine offers another drinking perch, and a banquet room will hold about 180.
Customers can hear live German music every day, starting with the Frankfurters on Thursdays. Sundays will likely be Polish night, such as Those Idiots once a month. The restaurant will eventually have an apartment to house traveling musicians, Townsell said.
Hofbrauhaus will only sell its own beer, brewed on-site. Its system should be able to produce 4,000 barrels annually, with no off-site sales.
It will have a wall of stein lockers, where folks can keep their quaffing vessels. Televisions near the bar will offer sporting events.
There will also be a gift shop. Considering the $5 million restaurant's size and national following, Townsell said, "this should be a destination restaurant."
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