Friday, December 15, 2017

MAP farmhouse on target for spring opening

          Massachusetts Avenue Project’s farmhouse project, which was under construction for two years, is set to open spring 2018.           
          The project at 389 Massachusetts Ave. will add to the urban farm at the same location.
          Some of the additions includes a new indoor and outdoor training space for farmers, a teaching kitchen, a resource library and a larger event space, Danielle Rovillo, MAP’s market director, said. 
          Funding for the $2 million project was made possible by donations from numerous organizations, including a $389,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture given to MAP and its partner for the farmhouse, Grassroots Gardens.
          MAP and Grassroots Gardens joined efforts to increase access to healthier food options that will allow them to build a stronger neighborhood connection.
          MAP’s mission is to nurture the growth of a diverse and equitable local food system and promote local economic opportunities. Grassroots Gardens aims to revitalize the city and enhance quality of life through the creation and maintenance of community gardens, grow healthy food and strengthen neighborhood spirit. 
          “Going into the grant helped MAP build a great relationship with Grassroots Gardens. It allowed us to grow on ideas for collaborating and plans for programming in the future for youth,” Rovillo said. By Elie Fortune and Nikita Singh

Best friends create hot spot at Remedy House

Bengal News West Reporters
           Andrew Trautman has worked at several cafes and coffee shops in the Buffalo area for years. Justin Smith has worked for several companies and has a finance degree from Notre Dame. Together, the two best friends decided to put their business strengths together to create a coffee shop and espresso bar called Remedy House. 
          Trautman, 30, along with Smith, 29, opened Remedy House, 429 Rhode Island St., in the Five Points neighborhood back on Nov. 20 right near other businesses in the area such as Urban Roots and Paradise Wine. So far in their short amount of time, the two friends have made their small business an interesting place in the neighborhood. 
          Prior to the store’s opening, they used to run a pop-up shop in the city and made a mobile port called the Remedy House Mobile Espresso Bar. “A few years ago, we started the [Remedy House] business by doing pop-ups. We had a mobile espresso bar that went around to festivals, private events, and other things. It got our name out there, got our feet wet. We would just serve simple espresso drinks and iced teas,” Trautman said. 

          After doing that for a while, the landlord of the Rhode Island Street building that Trautman is friends with said that their business should come into his building. 
          “We did a pop-up almost a year ago inside this space,” Trautman included. “Once we got inside here, we felt that it was just right that we needed to come in. Ever since then we’ve been working towards signing the lease and building this out.” 
          Smith, who’s been a friend of Trautman’s for four years, has a background in corporate finance and had no previous experience in the restaurant business. He left the business lifestyle, which he grew to hate, and wanted to do something different with his skills. 
           “I wanted to open some sort of restaurant, bar, cafĂ©, something, with somebody that’s passionate,” Smith said. “I’ve always had an interest in it and in interest in providing quality things to people. Seeing Andrew’s passion for coffee and frankly how good he is at preparing coffee drinks and his knowledge about coffee. We started talking about making our own business.” 
          Before Remedy House started, Trautman worked as a barista at SPoT Coffee, where he met Ariel Brucato, who now works at Remedy House. She said she loves the intimacy of the location and how small the building is. 
          “[Smith and Trautman] are the hardest working humans I’ve ever met in my life,” Brucato said with a chuckle in her voice. “I don’t know how they function so well without sleeping as much as they do, but they’re killing it, they’re doing such a great job. It’s impressive.”

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rotary Rink ice-skating season opens

Rotary Rink at Fountain Plaza officially started its ice skating season. The season kicked off oin early December with a Christmas tree lighting celebration, an event that featured several attractions including fireworks, pictures with Santa Clause and concession stands with food. The Rotary Rink is the only free, outdoor ice skating rink on the West Side open to the public.  People have the option to bring their own skates or rent skates for $2 for children and $3 for adults. Local resident, Brittney Davis, brought her 10- year-old son Moses to the rink to get him in the holiday spirit. Despite the long lines she believed it was a great place for families to spend time together. “This is a great event for the kids but the rink is nice because it brings everyone, even adults, here to have fun and skate. I’m not the best skater but I really like it here,” said Davis. People who missed the event will still be able to skate at the rink until the season officially ends on March 18. By Tatiyana Bellamy

Changes to come for Jericho Road facility

Small, uncomfortable patient waiting rooms will soon be a thing of the past at Jericho Road Community Health Center, 184 Barton St., as this will be one of the spaces renovated in the facility. There will be numerous additions to the center, which will include a larger waiting room for patients and a newly renovated sanctuary. Renovations will be worked on during two different timeframes in what the center is calling phase one and phase two. During the first phase, which started in early October, the community center will update its parking lot, add a new side entrance with automatic doors and a ramp and enlarge the kitchen to accommodate 110 seats. A pharmacy will be added during the second phase beginning in mid-December. Islama Bashtik, secretary at Jericho Road Community Health Center, said patients are excited about the changes. “A few are a bit alarmed due to possible patient increases, appointments times and waiting long hours to see a doctor,” said Bashtik. “However, for the most part a lot of our patients want to be able to have access to an on-site pharmacy rather than traveling to their local Tops or Rite Aid.” Both phases are expected to be complete by the summer of 2018. By Elie Fortune and Nikita Singh

'Fixing' pets prevents overpopulation

Residents that spay and neuter their pets could prevent animal overpopulation from worsening on the West Side. “It helps with population control, first and foremost,” said Dr. Mercedes Carota, associate veterinarian at the West Side Pet Clinic, 1245 Niagara St. People often bring in groups of stray cats, or cat colonies, to the clinic. “They try to trap them and spay and neuter them at low-cost clinics. Pit bulls and cats are definitely overpopulated in this area,” Carota said. Nick Maes, Helen Street resident, has personally experienced the downside of not fixing a pet. When Maes’ dog gave birth to nine puppies, six of them passed away within a week. “It would’ve saved me about $600, a lot of heartache, a lot of time if I just would’ve gotten her spayed,” Maes said. With so many animals in the area, residents should know that winter weather conditions can cause animals to seek shelter in potentially harmful locations. The Humane Society of the United States advises people to bang on their car hood before starting the engine to prevent serious injuries to hidden animals. By Alyssa Brannigan and Taylor Carruth

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Print books are not a thing of the past

Bethany Ortquist works weekends at West Side Stories Used Books, which is celebrating its sixth year in business in an industry that has been challenged by the introduction of e-readers as alternatives to hard-copy books. Since its opening in 2011, the owners Joe and Jeanenne Petri had to fight an argument that e-books and e-readers will become the dominant means of reading, but by 2017 it hasn’t been the case. E-readers such as the Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook have taken a dive in desirable markets such as young adults and college students.
According to a study in Telematics and Informatics, four-fifths of students surveyed preferred print books for both academic and pleasure reading. Another study, showed that millennials acknowledge that they read better with a print book instead of on a digital tablet.
The Petris found that their confidence in books came from taking a look at another industry that’s undergoing a resurgence. “E-readers will eventually become a bigger part of the market,” Joe Petri said. “I opened the shop six years ago and the reason I was confident in the book industry was by taking a look at the music and vinyl industry. Music and vinyl came back because there are some people that will choose fidelity over convenience.” By Edwin Viera

Wing King marks its success with 2nd shop

By Elie Fortune and Nikita Singh
Bengal News West Reporters
A Hertel Avenue restaurant will bring its specialty chicken wing flavors, which include Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Nutella and peanut butter and jelly, to the West Side.
Wing Kings, 1281 Hertel Ave, is set to arrive in Elmwood Village at 484 Elmwood Ave.
            Jeremie Jones, owner of Wing Kings, is a Buffalo native who believes the success of his business served as an opportunity to move forward from his troubled past.
Before he became a restaurant owner, Jones was arrested and charged with illegal use of a cell phone for a felony act. For a year, he was required to wear an ankle monitor and was placed on probation for a few years until he got off early due to excellent behavior.
Jones’ record could interfere with the progress of Wing Kings but he was determined to leave his past behind him.
Jones attributes much of the restaurants success to social media. On Facebook, Wing Kings has over 3,500 likes and a 4.9 out of 5 rating. On Yelp it received 4 out of 5 stars and on Seamless, 5 out of 5 stars.
“With social media, “Jones said. “We were able to tap into our old clients from the Buffalo Summer Club and staying in contact with those people. I just think that our chicken following from our crazy flavors, and the neighborhood that we’re in, it’s a perfect, right in the middle neighborhood in Buffalo.”
Jones also believes much of Wing Kings’ popularity derives from his unique list of flavors. For Jones, operating in the home of the buffalo wing, served as a stepping stone for creativity.
 The buffalo wing only consists of a hot wing. With us, we bring all the original flavors and then mix and match with exotic flavors, making them homemade,” Jones said.
Aaron Osbourne, Jones’ cousin and percentage owner of Wing Kings, believed his skills along with Jones’ could create something special if they went into business together.
Jones and Osbourne chose the West Side for their business because they saw an opportunity to expand and viewed it as the perfect location.
“We didn’t really want to go downtown with the just the regular take out, small sit-down restaurant,” Jones said. “Elmwood to us was like the most popular street in Buffalo when it comes to bars and food. So, I felt like Elmwood for the second location was going to help us in our goal to open up a sports bar with Wing Kings in the near year or so.