PK Eats, the new food hall on Hertel Avenue has a parking lot, you guys. A parking lot. For your car. To park in.
It probably seems ridiculous to mention parking right off the top when profiling a new restaurant, but here we are, City of Buffalo: The Powers that Be have us all searching for free parking like Game of Thrones fans googling that guy that came back to life, no not that guy, the old guy, in the cave.
The parking lot at PK Eats is key because people are going to want to come here; whether it’s for a ‘new year, new me’ healthy salad, a build-your-own poke bowl or an expertly-calibrated craft cocktail.
Like any food hall, PK Eats features multiple restaurant concepts under one roof. You can get salads, grain bowls, wraps and smoothies from Newbury Salads. There’s also Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Burmese food from Sun Cuisines. And then there’s the local craft cocktail standard-bearer known as Vera – or barVera as it’s now called.
Food can be ordered from Sun and Newbury Chipotle-style; at a glass-top counter where you can watch your food made in front of you. Items from both menus are also available at barVera.
When the cold weather breaks, the restaurant’s outdoor patio will open, and dual garage doors will be swung open. BarVera will also open its walk-up bar.
In a recent phone interview, co-owner Paul Tsouflidis (Acropolis, Newbury Salads) told us he and his partner Kevin Lin (Sun Cuisines) are hyped to finally be on Hertel Avenue. He suggested that massive community support for small businesses appears to be the secret to the area’s success.
“It’s a really exciting area, especially those few blocks around PK Eats,” he said. “The community has welcomed us with open arms; that whole area. It’s definitely something I’m not used to.
“Joel Feroleto, the council member, has bent over backward for us. He was very welcoming. That’s new to me, to have local politicians really be receptive and pro-business, which was awesome to see.”
With other Sun and Newbury locations around town, convenience might seem like the biggest reason to come to the new food hall. But Tsouflidis said all three concepts at PK Eats feature exclusive items that you can’t find at other locations.
At Newbury, there are toast lunch boxes featuring avocado toast and similarly-topped toasts on Breadhive bread. The new Newbury location is also debuting falafel, Greek meatballs and ahi tuna dishes. Over at Sun, you can find exclusive ramen noodle bowls, pad thai and Japanese-style barbecue meat skewers known as yakitori.
BarVera owner Cameron Rector told us that the opening day cocktail menu has “some of our all-time favorites; real flavor bombs that showcase what we do best. We will also have a menu section of ‘low octane’ cocktails. Drinks that you can enjoy in the daytime or on your lunch break.”
At Step Out Buffalo, we know there’s lunch… and then there’s brunch. Through an exclusive menu and cocktail program, brunch at PK Eats is where the synergy of the three concepts is truly going to come alive, Tsouflidis told us.
“Having synergy with the bar to make a brunch menu is kind of a first,” he said. “We’re sharing ideas and services through all three brands.”
“Brunch will be a whole other animal,” Rector noted. “I’m real excited for all the ‘hair of the dog’ cocktails that we could never do before. It’s an entire genre that we are extremely excited to show” everyone.
During our conversation, Tsouflidis said he and two other partners had recently taken over the EXPO food hall downtown and suggested that it will continue to serve as a kind of incubator, where aspiring restaurateurs can try out their concepts before going full-blown brick-and-mortar. Also, there are plans to position Sun and Newbury as franchises. So, you should expect to see more Sun and Newbury locations popping up around Western New York in the near future.
Clearly, there are big things to look forward to and right now the nucleus for these soon-to-be franchises sits on Hertel Avenue, right next to a little parking lot. For your car.
1488 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216
Opening Hours: Daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.