Savoy Steps Up

It was almost a year ago to this date that a dumpy-looking liquor store on Elmwood Avenue got a fresh makeover (see here). Since that time building owner Noel Sutton has spent his time formulating a business plan that would see a restaurant of equal value occupy the space. “I decided that the only way to do that was to open the restaurant myself,” Noel told me. “We have transformed the interior and the exterior with utmost care. The more that I worked on it, the more that I felt that the space deserved something great.”
To say that Noel has done “something great” here is an understatement. From custom made columns (Buffalo Plastering) with architecturally detailed abaci, to the purposely positioned faux brickwork…. and then there’s the frosted designed transom windows and the old world exterior painted signs and interior mural. There is thoughtfulness incorporated into the tack and leather banquette seating, the brass detailing, the deco light sconces and the hand painted walls in the bathrooms. “I was looking to incorporate ’30s period designs,” Noel added. “Since I needed to replace so much of the interior, I decided to go for the gusto – to recreate something that looks like it’s been around for a long time. There are no garish signs either… I wanted it to resemble an old speakeasy. In fact, if you’re familiar with the name “Savoy” then you might recall that there’s a reference to the time of prohibition when an American-style bar opened in Europe at the Hotel Savoy. The hotel became known as a place where international artists would congregate, and there was a great jazz scene, with handcrafted cocktails. That’s the image that I would like this place to evoke.” *Also see Savoy Theatre on William Street in Buffalo. 
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All of the work that Noel is putting into the look and feel of the restaurant will also transcend to the food that will be prepared in a brand new lower level kitchen facility. When I say brand new, I mean it. When Noel first purchased the building there was three feet of water down there, which had rotted everything on site and in sight. “The place was trashed,” he said. “So we rebuilt everything including the ceilings and the floors. Actually, that allowed me to install a kitchen that would suit the type of food that I wanted to serve at the restaurant (see menu below).”
When I first stepped into the completed Savoy, I couldn’t help but think about some of the smaller New York City lunch and supper clubs that I had seen over the years. Come Friday, when Noel opens the doors of Savoy, I believe that guests will be in store for an exceptional treat. To that end, I’m sure that many people will be raising a glass to Noel, who has helped to raise the bar in Buffalo.
149 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo NY
716-768-3100
Savoy-Buffalo-NY-1.jpg

About the author  ⁄ queenseyes

Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Catalyst behind the Pierce-Arrow Film Arts Center. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette. Themed New Years mayhem at various locations. Next up: Porchfest... Also offers package tours of the city for groups or individuals. Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

34 comments
buffal0ver
buffal0ver

Elmdog, I was there opening weekend as well! It was a success I think, lots of people and the owner and staff really had there stuff together. The remodel is stunning.

buffal0ver
buffal0ver

Great addition to the Elmwood Village/Allentown district! Food was great, service was exceptional, and the liquor selection is too. Went again last night and it was very busy, great vibe. Will most definitely be visiting again :) Try the deviled eggs - so yummy!

nick at nite
nick at nite

Great place! I was there last weekend and it was packed. I met Noel. Great guy!

elmdog
elmdog

how was opening weekend?

urbanbflo
urbanbflo

Opening Night was full and FUN. Great job on the place Noel, two thumbs up.

ForestBird
ForestBird

Cute place with a sadly clichéd menu (NYC, circa 15 years ago?). I'd still give it a try, except that I can make a full turkey dinner for the family for less money than snacks for 2 at such places.

The Boss
The Boss

Of course they take cigarette breaks, but not in plain view at the front door while wearing a chef coat, Like FW said it is bad business. Now you are going to prepare my food, and how can you taste what you are cooking, it just gives the impression that someone is not paying attention to details, place looks cool though.

hepcat72
hepcat72

I got excited when I saw the name, but then upon reading, realized it was not a reference to the famous Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, birthplace of Lindy Hop, and felt let down. Besides, the pictures show that there's no room in there to dance. Still, the place looks very nice.

buffalot
buffalot

What are the chances that OFW has a huge shamrock on his back/upper flabby arm (to be displayed while wearing his cutoff tee)? I'm thinking greater than 90%...

LouisTully
LouisTully

Wow. You're letting your colors show through, guy. There was a line from Lewis Black where he was talking about Bush or Cheney or some target of his jokes that you should consider: "There are things where, sometimes, you think them and then you shut your fu*king mouth".

buffalot
buffalot

You have GOT to be kidding...???? Clearly you've never ventured out of the First Ward/South Buffalo? Goodness.

whatever
whatever

OFW - so it's a gender thing? If tattoos are on a male bartender, waiter, or clerk - you wouldn't be less inclined to be a customer where they work - but for female staff you would? Really?

You're entitled to choose businesses for any reason of course, but as long as they do their job, what difference should it make for a few seconds while someone takes your order?

Doesn't seem at all similar to smoke which as you said can affect food taste or could follow customers home on clothes, etc.

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

Why is that offensive? Or incredibly offensive? I happen to be one who thinks tattoos look terrible and cheap on women. Quite frankly it repulsive to see some woman walking around with their arms, neck, back, and legs all defaced. Just because you consider it art does not mean everyone else does.

Fu64
Fu64

"Eliminate it along with the waitresses smeared with tattoos" I can't even begin to get into how incredibly offensive that is. We will start by saying you may want to reconsider women being objects "smeared" with undesirable physical traits.

BuffaloQPublic
BuffaloQPublic

Hip, Hip Savoy! Best wishes for tremendous success!

grad94
grad94

noticed it biking by last night. inside and out, the improvements are impressive. well done and good luck!

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

I know they do. I have been to the Olive Garden at McKinley Mall drove around the building and saw six workers sitting around smoking with the back door open. I just think it is bad for business. Many businesses don't allow it on their property. Why should a restaurant be any different. Let alone by the front door.

Times have changed. My brother and his wife smoke. Once my daughter was there and when she came home I could smell the stale smoke in her hair and on all her clothes. I hated it.

LouisTully
LouisTully

I don't disagree with that. But it's naive to think the people making your food don't take cigarette breaks. So what part would you not allow? The ability to smoke at work?

jerry
jerry

WOW CONGRATS NOEL looks amazing!!!!! And everything sounds sooo good cant wait to cone in and try everything. ...

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

Actually its not nit-picky. It's bad business.

I remember not too long ago driving by Roswell and workers were standing outside the front entrance smoking, meanwhile people are inside dying of cancer. I couldn't believe my eyes. Then they made them walk to the corner, now they have to cross the street and leave the property. But I digress.

If it was my establishment I would not allow that. Plus cigarette smoke residual permeates clothing and food. YUK.

Eliminate it along with waitresses smeared with tattoo's. I'm interested in good atmosphere and great food.

LouisTully
LouisTully

So, he said "you stay classy"? Or you're just being a funny guy (Helium has open mic, fella)? So what's the problem here? Because he was smoking? So he should be out of sight is what you're saying? I can understand that and even agree, sure. Still, that's a little nit-picky.

The Boss
The Boss

walked by the location and Chef was outside front door smoking "you stay classy Buffalo":

Quixote
Quixote

I heard this guy got kicked around a bit by the folks at the school across the street when he wanted to fix up his building. Not sure what the issue was. Glad to see that that he persevered. We need more people like Noel.

elmdog
elmdog

The front exterior of the building is great...I am really intersted in seeing what type of signage will be placed out front...A sign with unique character can and will really help make this location pop....On interest alone people will stop in and may make it there home

buffalot
buffalot

Beautiful work, Noel! What are the hours? Will you ever serve more than beer and wine? Do you think you'll expand the menu once you get things going (I'm sure I'll get "thumbs down" for that one, but I'm curious. The menu is a-ok for me, but I don't think it would be enough for my boyfriend...)?

elmdog
elmdog

This is exactly what Elmwood needs and has seemed to have missed on for many years(in many locations)....People who own the buidlings who are willing to be creative and spend their own money; (which I know is harder than just saying it)....This is the type of place that should have a nice cult like following if the food is up to par...Europa has the same idea and although the facade of their building is rough, the restaurants does well because of the niche and quality of food....I love this and hope it does really well.....

The next point....Elmwood has 5 major locations that are sitting empty because of owner issues, high leasing rates and or building asthetics issues...How do we combat this and can someone start to push owners to either clean up the buildings and or make them more appealing in any way? Cozmel?(althought yesterday someone said that its under contract)...The corner of Allen and Elmwood(The Buffalo Cakery) building which IS owned by a local yutz..Elmdwood and West Utica(Mode), phenomenal location but from my understanding the jerk off owner is asking a ridiculous amount...Zettis pizza location(althought Zettis occupies is, this location deserves better...and SOLE building is up for lease.....I cant understand how these extremely visible and high quality locations are under utilized on a street that is supposed to be growing in popularity and one of the best neighborhoods in the city...

Hertel has plenty of open spaces but entrepreneurs keep opening est. over there with very little red tape and or pushback...or so it seems........

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

Well done, Noel--that is quite a beautiful transformation.

Old First Ward
Old First Ward

From the pictures, it looks like a fantastic transformation. In all fairness, the editor should post both before and after pictures on the thread page. They really need to be seen side by side.

The ambiance has a cozy looking charm that begs you to just snap the button latch on the heavy entry door. I can almost hear the bell ringing upon entry. I have my mind set on the portobello panini while camping out in the corner by the window.

I would love to see a small cloth awning on the front. Is the name going up above the glass?

paulsobo
paulsobo

The simple lesson here is that classical or period architecture can blend with contemporary and modern.

I think we can build/rebuild/restore a classical or period build

I also think that we can our communities which have a certain period of architecture can have infill that combines both and blend.

The problem with Buffalo is that it is to poor and cheap to have any architectural codes or put any effort into anything beyond cheap....in many cases we cant even save what we have.

Thats just sad.

Though I do applaud those that have managed to preserve and restore what we do have...weve lost so much though...how do you reweave that tapestry with so many holes?

STEEL
STEEL

The great thing here is that even with the historical touches and details this is a beautiful contemporary space. More of this in Buffalo please!

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