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New cafe South End Eatery to grace Seneca Street in South Buffalo

The stretch of Seneca Street in South Buffalo, between the bridge over the Buffalo River and the small Tops Markets, has limited food options, with three pizza-and-sub shops over the 12-block span.

One thing is missing: a breakfast-and-lunch place that fits the residential neighborhood.

South Buffalo development company Hook & Ladder has announced South End Eatery, at 1994 Seneca St., to fill those holes, even though it will also serve dinner. Pete Scarcello, a co-founder of H&L, described the enterprise – which has not yet determined an opening date – as providing "classic favorites with a modern twist."

"There are great restaurants in South Buffalo, but many are more on the traditional side," said Scarcello. "We wanted to create something with a contemporary twist."

The in-the-works project will have an all-day breakfast menu with traditional offerings like bacon, eggs and home fries, but with modern touches, Scarcello teased. The new business will apply for a beer-and-wine license. More cafe than diner, South End will run a Saturday and Sunday brunch with specials.

Structurally, Hook & Ladder fully rehabbed the building – formerly Willoughby Insurance, residential property and, long before that, a neighborhood five-and-dime – after buying in 2018. The result, Scarcello said, is an airy space focused on connecting the inside with the outside to create a welcoming environment on the commercial strip.

[Read more: Seneca Street joins Buffalo's redevelopment renaissance]

Retractable garage doors will open to Seneca Street during warm weather, and on the side of the building facing Hayden Street, large glass windows will showcase the magisterial St. Teresa Roman Catholic Church. The cafe's capacity will be between 80 and 90 indoors, with extensive patio seating outside.

The developers conceptualized and own the business but will hire management and a full staff to oversee day-to-day operations. Hook & Ladder's three owners, all South Buffalo firefighters, will have greater day-to-day involvement with Cookies & Cream, the ice cream parlor close to opening at 2114 Seneca St.

INFO: South End Eatery, 1994 Seneca St. There's not yet a projected opening date for the cafe.

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