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Soul food restaurant comes to downtown Buffalo

Ike and B.G.'s Restaurant (downtown)
Thomas O'Neil-White
Steven Butler (center, holding scissors) cuts the ribbon on the new Ike and B.G.'s Restaurant on Franklin Street.

Downtown Buffalo is getting a taste of soul as East Buffalo soul food staple Ike and B.G.’s Restaurant cut the ribbon Wednesday on its new location at the corner Niagara and Franklin Streets.

The original Ike and B.G.’s Restaurant is located on Genesee Street and was purchased by Steven Butler from his God Parents Ike and Beverly Gray in 2017. Ike and Beverly first created their takeout-only restaurant in 1998.

Butler says it’s been a labor of love to both work alongside his loved ones since he was a child and to expand on their original vision.

“The first person who that thought I had the natural talent to run a business and cook in a restaurant was Mr. Issac Gray,” he said. “I’d like to thank you for that. We started out on 1743 Genesee Street, Genesee and May Street in a little building. The business started growing, we moved to 1646 Genesee Street. Things got better, [but] my dad got ill and I took over the helm from him four years ago.”

The grand opening downtown wasn’t the only news Butler had in store. He plans on breaking ground in April on a $4 million project to expand the original Ike and B.G.’s.

“We want to add value to Ike and B.G.’s on Genesee Street,” he said. “There’s currently eight vacant lots that we plan to do a new build, which will be knocking down the existing building and building a mixed use structure which involve retail space and residential space. So not only will we be bringing living space to the community but we’ll also be bring space for new businesses that want to be involved in the community, right on Genesee Street!”

The Genesee Street expansion will also include a dining room and banquet hall.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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