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.
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