Two months in, Elmwood juice bar is making an impact
blog by The Buffalo State Record • December 09, 2011 @ 1:58pm
Ashker’s Juice Bar, Bistro and Gallery opened at 1002 Elmwood Ave. about two months ago and has been vigorously working to turn the space into a community hub where people can come to drink coffee, eat healthy food and socialize with others in the neighborhood.
“We do espresso-based drinks and we have a juice bar menu, so it’s all based around health and wellness,” owner Angelo Ashker said. “It’s all fresh and made to order, including the breakfast and lunch menu.”
The regular bistro side opens at 7 a.m. and stays open until 6 p.m. The breakfast menu features omelets, fruit parfaits, oatmeal, pancakes and French toast and is served all day long. Breakfast prices range from $3 to $5.
The lunch options are about $9 per meal. Lunches include paninis, salads and wraps. Every lunch choice is served with the side of the day.
Ashker’s also offers local ingredient scones, muffins and fresh fruit for quick grab-and-go options.
To make Ashker’s different than other spots on Elmwood, Ashker said he plans to build his business around community.
“The concept is for different groups and people to come in and do things healthy and progressive and just share it with the community,” he said.
The bistro side of the building will focus on food, health and wellness. The other side of the building will be an open gallery space for local artists, musicians and chefs to share their talents with the community.
“For the gallery side we are looking at one-month exhibits,” Ashker said. “Some months it will be art, other months it will be other types of exhibits, maybe historical, archaeological, really anything the community wants to share.“
The gallery side will also offer “theme nights” throughout the week. The theme nights will vary from unique ethnic meals to group-based meals and guest chef meals. All of these will be reservation only, with two time slots per night, one at 5:30 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m. The price will range from $5 to $50 depending on the theme.
“It will be more than just a night out to eat,” Ashker said. “It will be entertainment as well. There might be certain types of music that goes along with dinner. We will put on a show.”
Ashker’s Juice Bar is looking to carve its niche in the Elmwood village. Erik Kohler, a Buffalo resident who spends time at the café across the street, said he believes Ashker’s has a shot at making its business a success.
“As soon as they reach out to the public and get a good crowd base, they should get a fair amount of success,” Kohler said. “They have a unique variety of things going on.”
Ashker’s also offers a free Emerald Member Card. These cards offer daily deals and discounts such as a free pastry with any coffee, or half off lunch with any smoothie purchase.
Ashker said the Elmwood location is looking to cater to specific clientele.
“We will have a few more offerings for students at this location as well as the business community down here,” Ashker said. “There is free Wi-Fi and daily student deals.”
Jessica Andres, a junior at Buffalo State College, said she used to spend a lot of time in the Comfort Zone Cafe, which formerly occupied the building.
“I’m excited to see a new place up and running so quickly,” she said. “I plan to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi.”
Ashker said the best way to find out about the upcoming events is to stop into the bistro and become an Emerald Card Member. Members receive emails with special updates and upcoming events. Ashker’s also has a Facebook page that will show its daily deals, menu specials and upcoming events.
“When you walk in you want to feel one overreaching theme of healthy community hub,” Ashker said. “Not just food service, not just music or art, but things that are good for the mind and the body.”
Buffalo State Record Contributing Writer