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Landmark Ulrich's Tavern re-opens

A Buffalo landmark re-opened yesterday with a street party and a lot of beer. It may not have been the beer Ulrich's Tavern sold when it opened 146 years ago, but much of it was local, fitting for a neighborhood that was once known for its breweries.

The neighborhood bar that once served nearby industrial plants such as Trico is now across the street from the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and its ever-increasing workforce.

Lawyer and businessman Tom Eoannou, who owns the building, says having 20,000 workers nearby makes prospects look good.

Eoannou bought the building after the former owner went out of business because of tax problems. The venture is another in a series of preservation projects for Eoannou, who recently completed the renovation of the North Park Theater on Hertel Avenue.

The bar itself is owned and operated by Sal Buscaglia of the nearby Snooty Fox Lounge. He says when they took over, the place needed work.

"Over the course of 146 years, almost 150 years, there's a lot of things that need to be addressed," said Buscaglia, "Some of those things you don't foresee when you first get involved in something like this. They hold you up a little bit, but you move forward and you get through them and you take it as it comes."

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO
Evidence of the German-American theme of Ulrich's Tavern.

Buscaglia says dealing with those problems in a building as old as Ulrich's can be complicated in the days of modern building and health codes. Meeting those legal demands while getting ready to open meant Buscaglia did the work himself, at a cost he estimates at $200,000.

General Manager Angelo Canna, Jr. says the menu reflects the German community that lived in the area when Ulrich's first opened in the post-Civil War era. It includes modern German-American food, as much locally-grown food as possible, and locally-produced beers.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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