Buffalo food blogger Jeremy Horwitz has invited Western New York food lovers to help make his restaurant dream come true.
On Tuesday, he announced plans for Mercado.
“Curated by an amazing chef, Mercado will create a central hub for Western New York artisanal foods and upscale casual dining, bringing over 15 distinctive dining options – chef- and artisan-operated – under one roof for the first time in local history,” according to the project’s Kickstarter page.
In other words, picture the nicest food court you’ve ever seen.
Horwitz seeks donations of $150,000 to defray opening costs. Donors get their money back if the project doesn’t go forward. By Monday, with 30 days to go, 78 backers had pledged $5,553.
No one has tried to crowd-fund such an ambitious restaurant proposal before in Western New York. It has the potential to measure how optimistic local eaters are about the future of the nascent Buffalo restaurant scene – especially the younger generation, who hit the Kickstarter button without fretting that hackers will steal their credit card.
Horwitz is a Buffalo native and editor-in-chief of iLounge.com, a website dedicated to Apple devices and accessories. He also founded BuffaloChow.com, offering reviews on restaurants in Western New York and around the world.
Scott Kollig would be the chef. From Clarence, Kollig has worked at nationally celebrated restaurants like WD-50 and Café Boulud. He is working as assistant sommelier at Four Seasons Baltimore.
Horwitz is looking for a place to lease, and could have an update on the location before the Kickstarter campaign ends, according to Mercado spokeswoman Nanette Tramont, who teaches in the communication department at SUNY Buffalo State and is Kollig’s mother.
Moved: Popular Allen Street lunch spot Café 59 has moved across the street, where it will merge with Madonna’s, Chris Connolly’s dinner place at 62 Allen St. It’ll be Café 59, even at the new address.
Coming: Hoping to open around St. Patrick’s Day, District is taking shape at 454 Pearl St., formerly Blue Buffalo. Tim Walton, an owner, aims to offer a place with a New York City lounge-restaurant feel, with drinks and food.
Counting down: Steven and Ellen Gedra’s Bistro Europa will close after dinner March 31. The Gedras will turn their attention to finishing the new place, at 367 Connecticut St. It’s expected to open this summer.
Relaunched: BuffaloEats.org, Western New York’s most ambitious restaurant blog, on Sunday. Besides restaurant and bar reviews, it hosts the Eat it Up podcast, interviews with a who’s who of the Buffalo restaurant and do-it-yourself food scene. Plus plans for more regular features, such as farmer profiles.