Madonna’s: Our Lady of Pasta

In a twist of fate, Leon Rung (photo right), the original owner of Cafe 59 has joined forces with Chris Connolly to open Madonna’s restaurant on Allen Street. I say ‘fate’ because Chris was the guy who bought Cafe 59 from Leon. Now the two are a couple of weeks away from opening the doors to a freshly remodeled, casual, authentic Italian restaurant. Seeing that both Leon and Chris have been able to figure out the formula of running a successful food operation in Allentown, I’m sure that the partnership will be nothing short of miraculous. 

The restaurant is being very loosely billed as “part Virgin Mary” and part “gay bar” (refer to the original article) in order to accommodate all those who live in the neighborhood. In order to make the space work, there was a desperate need to overhaul the interior. Starting with the removal of the main wall that stifled the entire restaurant, Madonna’s is finally beginning to see the light of day (literally and figuratively). Where there was once a wall, there is now bar seating. Where there was once a low ceiling behind the bar, there is now vaulted space. The restaurant features a multitude of seating arrangements including bar stools along the front window. A fun mural by Matthew Grote has been painted on the overhead dining room wall. Photos from Ann Peterson (Mundo Images) have been hung, and more artwork is on the way. 
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As you can see, the design premise behind Madonna’s is neat and simple. Along with the clean lines, there is one flatscreen TV at the bar for showing Sabres games (if we ever have any). The owners are hoping that this will become a relaxing neighborhood bar and restaurant – a place where the food stands out and the wine list is as much of draw as the smells that waft out the front door. Nothing fancy, just quality offerings at reasonable prices. I have no doubt that a traditional and casual Italian restaurant will be welcomed by the neighborhood, especially considering that the owners are institutions themselves.
Madonna’s
62 Allen Street  
Buffalo, NY 14202
716-768-1401
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About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

26 comments
tommyJ
tommyJ

Best of Luck Chris!

ladyinwhite
ladyinwhite

They say 3rd times a charm. We will see. Maybe it will be an epic win and we can all kiki and drink PBR's.

ladyinwhite
ladyinwhite

They say 3rd times a charm. We will see. Maybe it will be an epic win and we can all kiki and drink PBR's.

Liberty10
Liberty10

Chris and Leon are both great people. I wish them the best

elmdog
elmdog

that is funny....I think its comical to hear people use trendy words like this...stoked, epic, etc....She must have heard it on a reality tv show

elmdog
elmdog

I really like the tables along the sidewalk windows....The restaurant looks clean and does fill a niche for potentially good Italian fare...

I imagine it will get a good flow of customers if the price is right and they have the italian comfort food that we all love...plus a good wine list would help......

A little more character would be nice...maybe make it look more authentic....but other than that....good luck....

GroveyClevesYall
GroveyClevesYall

"Epic Fail"? you're an "Epic Fail" for using that "trending" slang. "Poser"

FightThePower
FightThePower

Heard K Gallaghers wasn't paying Uncle Sam. Hopefully, similar to Ulrich's, they will be back up and running after a short hiatus.

brownteeth
brownteeth

Too bad the light rail doesn't go here :)

grad94
grad94

cue the all-caps hysteria from christy-lou-paulsobo about the madonna's dress blowing up like marilyn monroe's!

brownteeth
brownteeth

I agree, Allen seems to have the best rate of stability for restaurants in comparison to other districts especially given the density. Even this one is a collaboration of two guys that have had restaurants there already. This has always been a great space that I never patronized due to overly complicated menus and I'm glad to see it has new life with a simpler menu. As for K. Gallaghers, I'm not sure what happened there? Anyone know?

Antiques_Allentown
Antiques_Allentown

Both Leon & Chris are great guys and big Allentown supporters. So happy to have Italian nearby.

to SadLlama: all sidewalk patios, citywide, have to to close from November to April for snowclearing.

to ladyinwhite: while a few restaurants have closed not long after they opened, there are many allentown restaurants that have been open for years, even decades. Nothing lasts? what about the Towne, Gabriels Gate, Hardware, Sample, LaTeeDa, Betty's, Mothers, Scarlet, Fat Bob's Smokehouse, Quaker Bonnet, Colter Bay, Tempo, Merge, Panaro's. I have heard that 60% of restaurants fail in the first 2 years. I don't think we have a higher than average failure rate.

300miles
300miles

When does the Allen St. reconstruction start?

ladyinwhite
ladyinwhite

I wish them both so much luck. Allen street is such an epic fail though. Nothing lasts there.

ccbuffalo
ccbuffalo

i love this, i cant wait to go and try it out.!! good luck guys!!

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

How 'bout some more colors/murals on the walls?

SadLlama
SadLlama

Looks great, how about putting the outdoor patio back in place for next summer?

irishcelt
irishcelt

'Fun mural?' Might catch 'sh*t' for that 'fun'. I think a mural of muhammad might have been more amusing.

Cam33r4
Cam33r4

Part virgin Mary part gay bar hahahaha, love it. I hope this restaurant nothing but success!

hammerchick1
hammerchick1

I hope they have gluten free and vegan dishes

RobH
RobH

Anyone have knowledge of why K Gallagher's closed?

brownteeth
brownteeth

I look forward to checking this out!

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

Fantastic. What a great addition to Allen St.

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