A couple weeks ago I met my buddy DJ Cook (Sous Chef at Shango) and Jim Guarino (Owner/Executive Chef at Shango) at the soon to be Oshun Oyster Bar on East Huron. Located right off Main Street at 5 East Huron in the former Howard Shoes Building that was previously a diner, Jim is planning on joining the wave of restauranteurs who are investing in Downtown Buffalo. We heard about the restaurant a while ago, in fact we tweeted a little tease about the new restaurant back on October 2nd.
As most high profile projects in the city of Buffalo go, there were a couple hiccups in the construction and progress was delayed. Luckily, things are back on track now and the progress was apparent when I walked inside. The framing for the kitchen was completed, outlets for the long bar were installed and the wall frescos had been restored. Here are a couple things I learned about the restaurant on my visit…
- The oyster bar will be in the rear of the restaurant and will face an open kitchen. Diners will eat their oysters in a tradition oyster bar (served on ice of course) and will be able to watch the controlled chaos as plates are leaving the kitchen.
- There will be booth seating as well as standard tables that will line the left side of the building, all together there will be over 120 seats.
- The elaborate tiling/mosaics on the floor that date back to the original construction of the diner will be renovated and featured throughout the restaurant.
- They’ve also renovated two large wall frescos that date back to the original tenant in the 40′s and will be featured in the dining room and above the cocktail bar with some creative lighting. The cocktail bar is quite large and will run down half of the right side of the restaurant.
- Chef/Owner Jim Guarino is currently considering the idea of having a private dining room in the basement, possibly in the wine cellar. There is a lot of room down there to play around with.
- Jim and the crew are currently aiming for a June 2014 opening.
I’m planning on visiting the site again in a couple weeks to get an updated look, and then hopefully once again before they open their doors to the public. It’s an exciting time to be someone who lives or works in the downtown area. Looking at the construction progress on Main Street, it appears that businesses are embracing the additional traffic. In the coming months we’ll see a ‘gourmet’ hot dog stand from Rocco Termini, Big Ditch Brewing’s brewery and tasting room, Marco’s Deli first downtown location and now Buffalo’s first true Oyster bar. It makes a guy who works and now lives in the burbs very jealous.
I had a long conversation with Jim Guarino about his plans for the space and I’m very excited, it sounds like the restaurant is going to be gorgeous and will have no problem pulling in customers with those large windows in the front.