(716) Food and Sport: HarborCenter’s new urban bistro
by Andrew Kulyk (@akulykUSRT) - posted 6:07 pm, January 29, 2014
This afternoon at First Niagara Center, details on the latest component of the fast developing HarborCenter were unveiled to the public and the press, and from the looks of things this will be a dynamic piece of the emerging Canalside neighborhood.
“(716) Food and Sport” is the name of the new sports restaurant and bistro that will be an important part of HarborCenter. The two level themed restaurant will be located on the corner of Scott St and Washington St. It will be approximately 13,000 square feet in size, have three bars and seating for 350 patrons. Each of the bar tops will be illuminated and be designed to replicate that of a hockey rink. This will be just one of many unique architectural and design enhancements which will include custom graphics and art which will embrace the “716” theme.
With 55 high-definition sets throughout the facility, the signature viewing experience will be a 38 foot video screen which will hang over the main bar and will be visible from both levels. It will be the largest such screen in the continental United States.
Dominic Verni is the restaurant’s General Manager, and offered more insight as to what the customer experience will be like for patrons coming to the new establishment, when it opens its doors this fall. “Our celebration of food will be highlighted by Western New York culinary favorites featuring locally produced ingredients. Our menu will be complimented by craft beers and signature cocktails, will feature 40 beer selections with over 20 varieties on tap. Our celebration of sport will include being Buffalo’s premiere destination before and after all sporting events in downtown Buffalo. It will be the best destination to watch all major televised events, providing a unique and exciting viewing experience.”
HarborCenter President John Koelmel gave a construction update on the facility, while offering high praises to the construction crew who continue to keep the project on schedule despite the harsh weather conditions and the challenging winter. “We are still looking to open the entire facility in the fall of this year, except the hotel which will open the following spring.” Koelmel did say that there is no firm date set for the opening of (716) Food and Sport, except that they hope to tie in the date with the opening of the facility, and offered a range of time from September to November depending on the overall construction progress.
Koelmel indicated that there is one more piece of the HarborCenter project which is still under review, and that is the retail tenant mix that will occupy the space abutting Main Street. “That is still taking shape. While it will only represent only 1% of the total square footage, we think it will benefit the district positively, and disproportionately so,” said Koelmel. Both Koelmel and Verni also stated that there are no immediate plans to provide seasonal outdoor dining at the restaurant, despite the presence of an ample sized plaza and pedestrian space outside their door bordering Scott Street,, one of the only such spots within the entire HarborCenter footprint. “We are working the with the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, where there are some exciting plans to present outdoor dining options along the new canals and in other sites in the district,” said Koelmel. “At some point we might introduce this here at 716 but right now we can tell you that there will be plenty of such experiences nearby, and we want our restaurant to compliment that array of dining choices for people who come down here.”
Once open, (716) Food and Sports will create 150 new jobs. “We’re putting a 10 pound project into a 5 pound site. It is an experience that will knock your socks off,” Koelmel promised.