Even though there is a lot to be talkin’ proud about in Buffalo right now, even the city’s biggest supporters would likely admit; it could be better when it comes to diversity and inclusivity.
With her new bar-restaurant, called The Rose, Lisa Roosevelt is looking to change that. Located in the Fairmont Creamery Building, just a stone’s throw from KeyBank Center, The Rose is dedicated to bringing a diverse crowd together through good food, strong service and great music.
We attended the Grand Opening celebration and the list of attendees was a bit of a ‘who’s who’ from the local community. Mayor Byron Brown and State Senator Tim Kennedy gave speeches, while local office-seekers Terrence Heard (for school board) and Esther Smothers (city council) did some politicking.
The Rose’s big open space was filled nicely with cocktail-sipping attendees, upbeat R&B and a mature vibe.
Although the Grand Opening gala was a big party, The Rose is intended to be a low-key destination for comfortable food, drink and music. In fact, Lisa Roosevelt told us that she wants the large restaurant to feel like a neighborhood joint. Her inspiration for getting into the business was the old Humboldt Inn, an iconic East Side joint.
“Back in the day, it was someplace that everyone went,” she said. “It was so small, and they packed the house.”
After talking to the owner of the old Humboldt a few years back, Roosevelt said she and her husband were given the chance to oversee it, as a kind of trial run for taking it over altogether.
“I never fully took it over because there was no parking and no kitchen,” she said. “We had a lot of support. People would come but they would have to eat before they came or they would leave because they were hungry. And then there was nowhere to park. So, I told my husband, let’s just put this down for a while. This isn’t something that we need to dive into. If something should come along, then we can pursue it.”
A few years later, Roosevelt and her husband are keeping their modest approach; the food and drink at The Rose is very approachable, classic Buffalo. There are appetizers like stuffed banana peppers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, chicken wings and seafood (Fridays only). We found a good selection of beers at the bar, including brews by Sam Adams, Labatt, Hamburg Brewing, Big Ditch, Flying Bison, Ellicott Brewing Company and 42 North. There were also very drinkable wines and cocktails.
Roosevelt made it a point to say she and her husband work hard to ensure that the big restaurant space is made warmer through hospitality and affection.
“Me and my husband are both people persons,” she said. “We could go out to a restaurant, a couple of strangers could be sitting next to us, and we can have a conversation like we’ve known each other for years. We just like to meet people: That’s who we are and that’s how we plan to run this business.
“I like to say that I want each person that walks into The Rose to feel like they are the most important person in the building.”
The Rose Bar & Grille
199 Scott Street, Buffalo, NY 14204
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 4 p.m. – 11p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4p.m. – 2 a.m., Sunday 4 p.m, – 11 p.m.