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Choppers and rye: The Garage Deli on the docket - INTERVIEW

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

If you think chef Mike Andrzjeweski is culinary king of the downtown area, consider the Richert brothers to be North Buffalo food royalty.

In addition to Torches and Smoke on the Water, Kevin and J.J. Richert will open the Garage Deli at 1139 Kenmore Ave., adjacent to Torches (see below—photo from Google Maps was taken a long time ago).

While the Smoke on the Water Facebook page suggested a Thursday opening for The Garage Deli, Kevin Richert said in an interview yesterday that there may be a slight delay.

“We’re working out a few issues,” Richert said, “but we’ll definitely be open before the end of the month (of June).”

At least to start, open hours will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays with a Sunday brunch that’s tentatively 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., although that window has yet to be finalized.

Kevin, who will co-own The Garage Deli with brother J.J.—third brother Mark handles much of the responsibilities at Smoke on the Water—will use the new locale as a long-sought chance to blend hobby with profession.

Both Kevin and J.J. are custom motorcycle aficionados—the latter is in a rather elongated process of crafting his own Chopper—and the nature of the old garage location fits snugly in terms of concept.

“Our passion for motorcycles matches our passion for food,” Kevin said. “It’s a unique opportunity to incorporate something with love with our business.”

In terms of food, the Richerts plan to create an “old-school New York deli,” which stems from the success of the smoked turkey sandwich at Smoke on the Water and served as a logical next step for the brothers.

Kevin envisions sandwiches piled-high with corned beef on bread that’s baked in-house—much like Risa’s Deli, he said. Hey, it’s a local alternative to the Subway chain, and that in itself holds plenty of value.

We’ve distilled The Garage Deli’s perks and mission into three bullet points.

Kevin Richert explained his intentions to employ the small garage behind his new restaurant as a rental space where private parties can eat a meal cooked by the chefs, examine the progress of the custom-built Chopper, chat with the knowledgeable Richerts about bikes and sign up for rental time of the motorcycle upon its completion.

Richert isn’t sure when the novel plan will take effect, but folks who’ve plowed through seasons of “Sons of Anarchy” or “American Chopper” should be licking their—erm—“chops.” (Sorry.)

There’s no question that Western New York adores patios—presumably because we have very limited time to sit outside and enjoy nice weather—and Kevin excitedly noted that the patio, situated behind the new space, has the potential to serve as a beer garden but, for the meantime, still seems like a solid outdoor eating spot.

“You’ll no longer feel like you’re in front of Kenmore Avenue,” Richert described about the patio’s vibe. “It’s quaint and tranquil, and we’ll have a garden where we’ll grow basil and herbs. Hopefully we’ll eventually have craft beer.”

Inexplicably, we’ve been on an elitist bread initiative lately—naturally resulting from The Black Market Food Truck’s banh mi and cemitas and Mazurek’s legendary rye bread—and it was exciting to hear the background of why the Richert’s don’t mess around when baking bread.

“Our father used to deliver bread for Kaufman’s Bakery,” Kevin reflected, “and we’d go along with him, smell the bread baking, see the rolls taken down off the shelf and then eat sandwiches right in the [delivery] truck.”

On a slight tangent, Buffalo Rising covered Buffalo ReUse’s move into the old Kaufman’s Bakery building on the East Side (see image to the right courtesy of BR). As the son of a bean sprout delivery man, I can appreciate these types of stories, even if mine revolved around staggering through tiny kitchens that boasted hidden mines of unbearably hot grease.

(Header photo courtesy of Flickr / Jeremy Brooks, while interior photo courtesy of Flickr / Tobyotter)

TAGGED: american chopper, brunch, jj richert, kenmore restaurants, kevin richert, motorcycles, smoke on the water, the garage deli

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