If you’re a fan of LQBTQ nightlife, the stretch of Allen Street between Main Street and Pearl probably holds a certain appeal.
If you don’t regularly enjoy alt-nightlife in the Queen City, you probably don’t hit up this side of Allen all that often. But that may be about to change, my friends.
The Astreet Meatball Market recently opened up on the first block of Allen to serve Italian-American classics, with a focus on house-made meatballs. Piggybacking off the wild success of The Meatball Shop in NYC, A Street is ideal for carb avoiders, but also has flatbread pizza and baked sandwiches for those of us who don’t mind a carb or two.
The fresh house-made beef, chicken, pork or veggie meatballs are available in any one of six different sauces: tomato, pesto, creamy parmesan, mushroom stroganoff, sweet & sour and barbecue. Astreet is a small counter-service joint, but I recently got my balls to go.
I found the beef meatballs to be cheese-infused with a hint of spice and fresh onions. The bean-based veggie balls were hearty, but refreshing. The chicken meatballs weren’t just a stand-in for red meat; they were aromatic, spicy and dense. All of the meatballs I tried were fresh and shrouded in a meaty, tangy red sauce.
Astreet isn’t just a couple of foodie owners chasing a Big City trend. Co-owners Bobby Burns and Dennis Glenn both have experience in the service industry. Burns told me his family owned an Italian restaurant in Boston, where he grew up. He said Astreet is a natural combination of his culinary past, a unique (proven) concept and growing opportunity for business owners setting up shop near the rising medical campus.
“Making meatballs is something I grew up doing my whole life,” he said.
Burns noted that he and Glenn were thinking about opening up a meatball shop in the suburbs, but: “I like being downtown. I like being in the city.”
Seeing a vacant spot on Allen a few months back, Glenn and Burns called the landlord to inquire.
“He got back in touch, we realized we had mutual friends, we all hit it off – and three days later we signed the lease,” Burns said.
For people visiting or working near the east side of Allen, Astreet offers comfort food with a unique twist. While the restaurant is just a lunch spot for now, Burns said he and Glenn are considering a tapas-style menu for the evening, and possibly a beer and wine menu.
“We’re trying to figure out if (beer and wine) would be well received, and I think it would be okay. We’ve talked with a few people here and there. If we were at the other end of Allen, beer and wine would be ‘a hard no’. But because we’re in the first block of Allen and there’s not as much down here… We’re still trying to figure how that’ll all work out and work into the neighborhood.”
For more information follow @astreetmeatballmarket on Instagram.
Astreet Meatball Market
23 Allen Street, Buffalo, NY 14202
Hours: Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.