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New: Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge Raises Expectations for Niagara Falls with its Distinctive Cocktails & Authentic Atmosphere

Cocktails, Drink, Food & Drink, Food & Drink News

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Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Published on September 19, 2022

This article is a paid promotion sponsored by an SOB advertiser and designed to share valuable info with our readers.

Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge

While the Canadians may have a bit of Las Vegas stardust sprinkled over their side of The Falls — “our” Niagara Falls is slowly limping along. There are signs, however, that the city may be coming into its own, with supporters championing the vision of a more authentic and a more intimate experience compared to the Canadian side.

Part of the ongoing evolution of our Niagara Falls has been the emergence of locally owned restaurants like the new Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge. Named after the Hindi term for ‘selfless service’ and pronounced “say-vah”, the new restaurant features small plates of internationally-inspired cuisine — a hat-tip to the international nature of the city that surrounds it.

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Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge
Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge
Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge

In a recent interview with us, operator Nirel Patel talked about his family being in Niagara Falls hospitality for several decades. His voice filling with pride as he talked, Patel mentioned how concepts like Sēvā are helping put forward that modern, authentic vision.

“Niagara Falls is a tale of two cities,” he says. “The Canadian side of Niagara Falls is like the Vegas Strip. You’ve got your Big Box restaurants, massive haunted houses and all these kitschy attractions that are all connected to one another. In the same way they see the falls from a far distance, they see their tourist area as an exhibition.

“When you come to our side, it’s more intimate and natural. We’re not a park within a city. We’re a city within a park, and that’s how we’re going about development on this side. Rather than creating commercialized spaces, we’re creating more intimate spaces and an urban atmosphere that speaks to the tastes of today, not of the 1980s.”

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Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge
Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge
Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge

Through their Rupal development corporation, the multigenerational Patel family began renovating the old Econo Lodge on Rainbow Boulevard before COVID. A new, completely renovated boutique hotel called The Cadence opened in 2021. One year later, Sēvā opened as the hotel’s bar-restaurant. A small indoor space opens up into a larger outdoor space through collapsible panoramic view doors, creating an indoor-outdoor effect. There’s also an elevated terrace above the outdoor space that holds about 50 people.

The goal, Patel says, isn’t just to create a nice indoor space, but also to give the surrounding outdoor space more of a communal vibe by reclaiming some urban space from the city’s sprawling parking lots. Sēvā’s large outdoor patio abuts the Rainbow Boulevard sidewalk, and the result is a much more inviting walkable space, especially where the patio is filled with people and scheduled live music performances.

“The thought process is: Let’s not have parking lots facing our major thoroughfares like Rainbow Boulevard or Niagara Street,” Patel says. “Instead, we should put parking in the rear of our commercial buildings and have more community spaces in the front.”

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Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge
Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge
Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge

Served in a format Patel calls ‘heavier tapas’ — the food at Sēvā draws influence from all over the map: masala shrimp ($18), chimichurri grilled steak ($30), chicken satay skewers ($14) and Cantonese-style char siu pork ($18). But there are also foods from closer to home, like charcuterie and bacon mac-and-cheese.

The cocktail list was developed by the Los Angeles-based Ellis Adams Group and it features unique ingredients but presented in very drinkable formats. The Bees in the Trap cocktail ($13) features Bacardi rum, banana liqueur, honey, pineapple and lime juices. The Gunpowder Sour ($14) features Dewar’s scotch, chai tea and lemon juice.

The food and drink menus at Sēvā are designed to reflect the dual identity of Niagara Falls. Drawing from his deep knowledge of the hospitality industry in Niagara Falls, Patel says that despite the city having a reputation for being an international destination, most of the tourists coming to the city are American.

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Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge
Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge
Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge / Photo courtesy of Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge

“At Sēvā, we’re an inviting space to everybody, but we’ve noticed that the majority of our clientele are American. However, they love the fact that there’s an international spin on the tapas dishes. So the flavors are American and it’s more about quality and consistency, with an international flair because we’re in a city that caters to international tourists.”

Ultimately, both The Cadence and Sēvā are meant to be part of an urban oasis that draws locals, American tourists and international tourists alike. Patel says there’s a lot of redevelopment happening in The Falls, and it’s forcing the city’s hospitality industry to keep pace.

“We’re elevating each other and keeping each other on our toes, by forcing everyone to step up their game,” Patel says. “There’s Wine on Third, Judas Tree, Torrent and other places that have elevated the overall culinary experience in Niagara Falls through their own niches.”

Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Monday to Wednesday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Sēvā – Tapas Bar & Lounge

200 Rainbow Boulevard Niagara Falls, NY 14303 • $$

Tapas

Niagara County

Fine Dining, Bar

Sēvā Tapas Bar & Lounge. Named after the Hindi term for ‘selfless service’ and pronounced “say-vah”, the new restaurant ...

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This article is a paid promotion sponsored by an SOB advertiser and designed to share valuable info with our readers.

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Written by <a href="https://stepoutbuffalo.com/author/brett-smith/" target="_self">Brett Llenos Smith</a>

Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Brett Llenos Smith is a freelance writer based in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood who has been covering local food and culture for Step Out Buffalo over the past six years. As someone with a multi-ethnic background, he has a passion for exploring and understand the many diverse corners of Western New York.

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