My mom is too modest to model in my blog post so I
took on the role.
I forced my mom to tag along with me on my adventure through downtown Buffalo. Without question, we had to visit a coffee shop. Lucky for us, Public Espresso + Coffee opened its first of two shops this past March inside a restored 110-year-old hotel in the middle of downtown. The seven-story Hotel @ The Lafayette also took a pretty stunning turnaround as a multi-use building with hotel rooms, apartments, retail, pubs and a coffee shop. (Watch a short video feature on the project here.)
My cousin, Tracie, and her husband, Matt, even hosted their wedding reception at the hotel's Greenhouse Room this past June.
The redeveloped 600 block of Main Street. I dragged my
mom through a handful more blocks of Main Street.
Location: Similar to Cleveland, it seems like coffee shops take a longer time to make their splash in a downtown area, (at least ones with weekend hours,) but with more housing being constructed downtown, we're seeing that change dramatically. In addition to Public's opening in March, another coffee shop, Buzz, opened this past September in the Theatre District. In addition, a local mother and son are opening their own coffee shop in downtown's Genesee Gateway District called Rust Espresso Bar.
For a long time, SPoT Coffee has held its roasting headquarters and cafe in downtown's Chippewa Strip, and just a little north in the Allentown neighborhood, sits a newly opened vegan + coffee spot, Grindhaus Cafe. I am not keeping a score card of what is and isn't apart of the third-wave coffee movement, but lets just say coffee-options in downtown have definitely exploded over the years and will continue doing so in the near future.
|A great bar counter area and city mural behind it.|
As my mom and I learned, finding available street parking on a Friday afternoon can be hard, but there are quite a bit of public transit and bike-friendly routes to take as well to the shop. The Metro-Rail is in fact just a block off from the shop. (Now if only the rail line could be extended to South Buffalo.)
The one thing that could improve about Public's location is signage. A sign standing along the sidewalk was the only thing my mom and I could find to indicate that we were going into the right place.
Food and Beverage: Like most third-wave coffee shops, Public doesn't have much to offer for lunch and dinner, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything good to eat.
I think the muffin might've had cranberries in it and the
pop tart had cinnamon in it. These are the uncertainties I face
when I lose my notes and wait this long to write a post.
All of them are great, but what sticks out most is Butter Block's lovely pop tarts. My childhood heart has always held a special place for the pop tart, and I would love to see more coffee shops selling these type of pastries.
I sadly lost my notes from the day, and I can't remember what my mom and I precisely ordered or how much it cost. (I do know she paid for it though--hehehe.) I know I ordered a glass of Kold Brew (there's an accent in the spelling), and my mom--who was introduced to pour-over only a year ago--had some trouble deciphering Public's menu. She eventually ordered a glass of The Revolution Espresso Blend. I remembered this because she was worried it had a shots of espresso in it. I also later bought a bag of this blend's beans and a sealed glass bottle of Public's Kold Brew. My siblings thought the bottle was some unusual craft beer at first.
Wonderful space to relax. My mom, who is a professionally
certified people watcher if such a thing existed, especially
loved watching all of the folks walking through the lobby.
Despite my concerns, the shop's interior is actually very awe-inspiring. I love the high ceilings, huge white columns and unusual furniture. I never watched or read "The Great Gatsby," but the lobby/shop certainly reminds me of it.
About a week after our visit, Public's staff posted on social media that they plan to extend their lease three more years at the hotel. I was super excited over that piece of news, even though I am most excited about them opening their flagship shop in Buffalo's upper west side later this year.
It may look like a bean bag chair--that's what I thought, certainly--
but this leather rounded piece of furniture is far from it.