Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Brunch is back, thanks to millennials

SUNY Buffalo State students and West Side residents, from  Olivia Smith and Emily Niman
enjoy brunch and a few laughs at Sweet_ness 7 Cafe

By Annaliza Guard and Madison Marquardt
Bengal News West Reporters
The first to walk through the restaurant door on the weekend are the parents with their young children.  As the morning progresses, a rush of young people flood the restaurants and cafes for the first social event of the day: brunch.
Brunch is making a comeback among the millennials who seem to have the disposable income and an entire weekend for as many social events as possible.
Restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries on West Side, are jumping on the trend. Two of them are BreadHive Bakery located at 123 Baynes St. and Sweet_ness 7 Café located at 220 Grant St. 
The reason millennials are waking up to eat brunch is due to a couple of things.
First, there’s the social aspect.  After going out the night before, they want to sleep in.  By the time that they get out of bed, they want something packed with carbs and a little alcohol on the side.
“To be honest it’s a Saturday morning so people have probably gone out the night before,” Valerie Rettberg-Smith, co-op member of BreadHive bakery, said. “So then you wake up with a hangover and what do you really want more than a bagel sandwich?  Even on Sundays people just want to wake up, not think and get some amazing food.”
BreadHive supplies the food for its collaboration with Hydraulic Hearth located on Swan Street for a Saturday “Breakfast and Booze” brunch.
“It’s family friendly, and it’s also a place for young people who have gone out the night before and want to hash out the details, ” Emily Stewart of BreadHive said.
Another reason brunch has gained popularity is the money lining the pockets of these young individuals.  Millennials have more money due to the economy improving as well as the fact that young people are getting married later and don’t have the same responsibilities for their money.  They have more to spend, and they spend it on food and social events.
“With the young people, it’s the social aspect, but also their propensity to spend,” Daniel Ricigliano, a business professor at SUNY Buffalo State, said.
A third reason is people are more aware of where their food is coming from, especially millennials.  They like to see that their food is locally grown and organic. Sweet_ness 7 guarantees locally grown and organic ingredients on the top of its  “Brunchy Feasts” menu.

          “People are taking a bigger interest in the food that they are eating,” Elizabeth Dashnaw of BreadHive said. “I think there’s a rise in people that are here and making amazing food.  We do everything by hand here, so there’s that element, and people are interested in that process.”
In addition to picking up on the demands of the community around them, businesses like the BreadHive and Sweet_ness 7 are benefiting from the city’s renaissance.  Young people are moving into the city and venturing into its more unique neighborhoods.
"We’re in an up and coming neighborhood,” said Rob Fussell, café manager of Sweet_Ness 7’s Grant Street location. “A lot of people will walk in and discover this hidden gem.
BreadHive has a take-out window,  but will expand to include table service at the new location at 402 Connecticut St.
"It’s a cool time to be doing a popular brunch because people know who we are that might not be coming to our take-out café,” Allison Ewing of BreadHive said.   “And we are about to open a café, so people who might have had our bagel sandwiches [at brunch] can make that connection more easily.”
Fussell said brunch is so busy for Sweetn_Ness 7, that the cafe no longer worries about drumming up business in the evenings. 
Local businesses can’t really explain why brunch has been so popular.  Maybe it’s the late start. Maybe it’s the good food. Maybe it’s the mimosas. Maybe it’s the laid-back environment created for the late mornings that you can only experience on a weekend. 
Whatever it is, the local restaurant business has made changes to accommodate this trend and it looks like brunch isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.