This is a bummer if it's true. According to a poster on the speakupwny forum, Romeo & Juliet's on Hertel may be leaving town. Apparently, the owners are moving to Tampa, and they won't guarantee that the restaurant will stay in Buffalo beyone a year or so. I love that restaurant, and I hope it's not true. If it is, we need to hold people accountable for this example of how not to run a municipal government. Here's the original post:

This business is located on Hertel Ave in Buffalo. Started from scratch by a young married couple about five years ago, this is the quiessential small business success story that Buffalo is starving for. The kind of business which adds to the city's diversity, employs about 50 workers, mostly from the immediate neighborhood including many high school and college students.

It began as a bakery making fresh bread, Italian cookies and cakes and other various delicasies. Their early success allowed them to quickly expand their business to include both an indoor and outdoor cafe adjoining the bakery serving specialy coffee's, wine, cheese, a lunch and dinner menu that thankfully,for a change doesn't include souvlaki and gyros. Specialty pizza's abound. The kind you will never find in a Bob&Johns or LaNova.

All in all a delightful place to spend a couple of hours relaxing and enjoying a truly unique enviroment............. But this business is also the kind that Buffalo, Erie County and New York State least appreciates. For you see the owners who have been interested in expanding and opening a second location have hit the brick wall of red tape, extremely high utility rates, lack of affordable expansion sites, high taxes and a general lack of "one stop shopping" any business looking to expand both needs and appreciates. Lack of parking is a big issue.(ever try to enjoy a night out in Buffalo without keeping one eye on the parking meter outside and the Parking Enforcement Officer just waiting for it to run out so the city can slap you with a $30 ticket?) High rental costs at it's current location and workman comp costs test the patience of even the most devoted Buffalo business owner. Well I just found out yesterday that they are relocating. Their expansion is taking them to Tampa, where they are being greeted with open arms. The potential for this business in Tampa is just enormous. There they will find low taxes, good community services, a growing business friendly city and a future other business owners in Buffalo, Erie County and NY State can only dream about.............. Though the current location will remain open for the forseeable future, Vito and his wife are not promising anything past 12 to 24 months. I know this couple very well and know how hard they worked to get where they are. I'm very saddened to see them leave. Not only because of friendship but because these people are just the kind this area needs to move forward. I wish them well! And a big thank you for nothing to New York State.

Here's my reply: I am very sad to hear this, because I love Romeo & Juliet's. I wish them well, and I hope they reconsider closing their Buffalo location. Given the crowds there, I can't imagine the business isn't doing well. But what do I know? If everything you say is true, then we ought to make a big stink about this to our politicos, and possibly make a guy like Bauerle aware of it, and see what we can do. We ought to hold our elected officials accountable for this sort of abject failure. But let me add one note: I am sick and tired of hearing about the lack of parking in Buffalo. It is such a blatant lie that we lack parking. When parking rates are less than $5.00/day in the downtown core, you don't have a shortage - you have a glut. The problem isn't parking. It's laziness. Suburbanites are so trained now to be able to park at plazas within eyesight of their destination, that they forget that you can't always count on that downtown. When I go out to Hertel - even on a Friday or Saturday - I have never, ever had a problem parking. The meters don't run after 6, for starters. And when I can't find a metered spot, I'll run up and down the side streets until I find one. If I have to walk 1/4 mile to get to Hertel or my destination, so be it. During the day, getting a spot on Hertel is a piece of cake. Once people get over the preconception that they have to park within 50 feet of where they're going, we'll stop hearing about the alleged parking difficulties in Buffalo. San Francisco, Boston, New York, and myriad other cities have bona-fide parking shortages (a spot easily will cost you $30/day and up). Yet restaurants and other businesses seem to thrive in that environment. And I'd be willing to bet that the regulatory schemes in those places are no less onerous than those in Buffalo.

No comments: