The owner of Ulrich’s, the historic purveyor of potato pancakes in the heart of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, wants to reopen the restaurant in some form and is working with a team that could include the owners of Snooty Fox and Globe Market.
Ulrich’s shut its doors in October, one year after unpaid taxes drove its owner to declare bankruptcy. Its closing left a hole in the Medical Campus neighborhood at the height of a construction boom on the blocks surrounding a restaurant that dated back to the 1860s.
Some complex financial and legal issues still must be worked out, and people involved in the deal weren’t offering details, but the lawyer for owner James F. Daley Jr. said Daley is optimistic he’ll be able to put together a plan to reopen the restaurant soon.
“It’s still contemplated as Ulrich’s,” said attorney Robert B. Gleichenhaus. “The plan is subject to some things having to be worked out.”
It’s not immediately clear how much the new bar and restaurant would reflect the original Ulrich’s, nor was it clear precisely what role Daley would play in the new establishment.
Daley owns the building at 674 Ellicott St. that housed Ulrich’s, which he and his wife, Mimi, took over from Daley’s parents in 2000.
Daley filed for bankruptcy in August 2012, citing hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes owed to New York and the IRS.
The restaurant briefly closed in August 2012, reopened in September 2012 and closed for good last October.
The bankruptcy case remains active. The appointed trustee in the case, Mark S. Wallach, did not return phone messages seeking comment.
Officials with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus have kept a close eye on the shuttered Ulrich’s. They say they don’t want to be in the restaurant business but they are ready to do whatever it takes – including buying the building and leasing it to a restaurateur – to make sure something opens at that location.
Ulrich’s is located near the Medical Campus’ Innovation Center and near several facilities that opened in the last decade for the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.
“We need it open, to be a great restaurant and a meeting place on the Medical Campus that it has been and it will be,” said Matthew K. Enstice, president and CEO of the Medical Campus, who added that any new establishment must have “a nice selection of beer.”
Gleichenhaus, Daley’s attorney, said his client has been in contact with potential investors and partners and has every intention of reopening Ulrich’s. He declined to identify those potential partners. Lisa Hennig, a co-owner of Globe Market, a deli-style restaurant with two Buffalo locations, confirmed that executives with Globe considered opening a location there but decided their business model didn’t fit in the tavern space.
She said her co-owner, local attorney Thomas J. Eoannou, remains interested in the Ulrich’s site. Eoannou declined to comment to The News on his plans.
Sources told The News that Snooty Fox owner Sal Buscaglia also is part of the team interested in the Ulrich’s site. Buscaglia did not return messages left at his Delaware Avenue bar seeking comment, and he was not at the bar when a reporter visited Thursday evening.
Gleichenhaus said he could not say when the investors would be ready to make an announcement, nor when the restaurant would reopen, but the parties wanted to get past some of last year’s construction on Ellicott Street and the current winter weather before reopening.