I am reposting this article I wrote in 2013 – it still seems appropriate for all who have a passion for the Queen City. This is the Buffalo I remember.
Yes, in case you have not guessed, I am originally from Buffalo. After you get all of the stinging quips out of your system let me tell you what Buffalo is really like. It is true that the press has not always been kind to the Queen City and it almost feels like Buffalo has enjoyed being the punching bag for the media. In reality, Buffalo is a very special city with tremendous history, unfaltering pride, and yes – even a healthy food scene.
OK, so the Bills never won a Superbowl and the Sabres have only gotten so far, but don’t ever try and tell a Buffalonian that these teams are not worthy. We have the right, as people from the city, to critique our teams, but other’s do not. We will defend them till the end of time (there, I got that out of my system).
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I think the greek immigrant you mentioned working at the Orchard Downs may be my uncle, and my grandfather owned it. Would love to hear what you remember from your time there. I miss them both. -Jason
I worked for Frank Shores who owned the restaurant with his brother. Frank was tough and thorough when it came to the great restaurant he had built. He had an apartment above the operation (probably not his home) and he told me whenever a delivery from a vendor arrived to call him to check it in. If it was a case of oranges or potatoes, or whatever – he would count every individual one to make sure an 88 count potato box had 88 potatoes, or that a 22 pound 109 rib roast weighed 22 pounds exactly as it appeared on the invoice. His comment to me was: “If it were your money wouldn’t you do the same?” The restaurant was traditional, organized as he wanted it, typically busy with regulars, clean and always modeled Frank’s style. They introduced the Greek style Sunday Brunch to the area with omelet and pancake stations in the dining room and a massive spread of pastries and other accompaniments. I only worked there for a year while I transitioned from a horrible job at another operation and sought new directions in my career – by I always remembered Frank’s lessons.
This is so cool. Yes, Uncle Frank was my uncle and his brother John Shores was my grandfather on my mothers side. I was just going down a rabbit hole one night online thinking about going to the Downs when I was a kid and I came across your blog. Its really cool to hear your stories. What year were you there? I was born in 1982. I remember my mom taking me over there to eat and to hang out with my grandfather and Uncle Frank in the mid to late 80’s. I still remember eating all the cocktail cherries from behind the bar, Uncle Frank making me an ice cream sundae that I ate at a small table in the kitchen, and my grandfather in his tux with his black shiny shoes. An aside from this story, I remember one time my Grandpa John told me. “When you grow up, don’t ever own a restaurant.” lol I guess by that time he had had enough of the restaurant business. Prior to the Downs he owned a restaurant in East Aurora that burned down and where the McDonalds now stands.