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Sinful Restaurant and Nightclub to change direction

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

When Sinful Restaurant and Nightclub opened on St. Patrick’s Day 2012, the joint operation of part-time restaurant and part-time nightclub promised to be a challenge for co-owners Susan Riggi and Tom Radon. How many venues in Buffalo pair the two successfully? Bada Bing, SoHo and Toro?

After seven months of testing the waters, Riggi (President and CEO) and Radon (Vice President and Creative Director) have decided to reorganize the Sinful brand beginning in the middle of October. Instead of serving lunch as usual from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.on weekdays, the restaurant will open later for happy hour while also offering catering for businesses that desire a spacious option for gatherings.

Radon will be able to work more closely with his godfather, Dennis DiPaolo, the current owner of Ilio DiPaolo’s. The Blasdell establishment will cater Sinful’s parties with the intention of making Ilio DiPaolo’s expansive menu more available for businesses outside of the Southtowns. Sinful’s present menu, already small to begin with, will shrink even more with the emphasis on Ilio DiPaolo’s (which is a pity, because it was a regular spot for Buffalo.com content team lunches.) Instead of small, healthy lunch spot, Sinful will become more of a banquet facility or venue hall.

In addition to expanding Ilio DiPaolo’s brand into the city, Radon hopes that the cooperation with Dennis DiPaolo encourages suburbanites to venture into the city of Buffalo, blurring the urban-suburban divide that plagues the Queen City and surrounding areas. Both owners emphasized the safety of Sinful, which should encourage the assimilation, as there’s a 70-spot parking lot in the rear (free after 6 p.m., enter from Elmwood) that’s monitored by video cameras constantly.

When I chatted with Riggi and Radon last week, we discussed some of the early struggles the business had. A large tree conveniently growing in front of 334 Delaware Ave., combined with minimal signage, obscured the view of the business, and both owners are expecting a new, much more prominent sign in place by mid-October. Sinful’s location—immediately across the street from Ani DiFranco’s Babeville—was stuck in a relative no-man’s land away from Chippewa and the theater district, leaving the area bereft of foot traffic.

The nightclub will largely remain the same, as attendance ranges between 300 and 600 people on a busy night. Radon views the venue as a bigger version of Snooty Fox or similar to Rendezvous, the Statler’s nightclub, and will serve high-end drinks from its seemingly never-ending bar.

There will be added emphasis in attracting celebrities and “bringing back what Chippewa Street used to be,” Radon admitted, and regular music acts like Patti Parks (every other Friday) and resident disc jockeyDJ Jiggz Entertainment will continue to be a fixture. DJ Jiggz’s “emulator” system is worth checking out if you’re into hyper-modern electronic dance music—here’s a teaser:

Themed nights are a specialty of Radon, as he already has a disco night set for the first Saturday of every month and held a Latin night last weekend. Like many of the higher-end nightclubs in Buffalo, Sinful abides by a strict dress code that prohibits hats, ripped jeans or excessively baggy clothing. They also have really, really nice bathrooms, so be prepared.

Watch as Sinful transforms from an ambitious restaurant-nightclub to a more focused happy hour-based, catering restaurant with a creative nightclub.

TAGGED: nightlife, sinful nightclub, sinful restaurant, susan riggi, tom radon

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