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The Shop Local Life

Before I owned Evelyn's...I was one of those locals who seldom went downtown or thought about whether I was buying from a local business or not. Maybe during Buffalo Days and sometimes if I was looking for a unique gift, I'd venture downtown. But, shamefully, not frequently.

Mostly, I stuck to the Hwy 55 corridor. I knew I could stop in quick at one of the big retailers and get what I needed.

But, now, I'm a shop owner in downtown Buffalo and my perspective has changed. From a business and personal standpoint.  In this world of Amazon, Targets, on-line shopping and social media, we've lost the beauty of the small town shopping experience. And, we are missing out on the personal connection associated with living in a small town and working with small business.  For those who do spend more time here (or in other areas of Buffalo where local businesses reside), you understand what I'm talking about.

I love owning a small business in Buffalo.  People stop in to just chat.  I know my customers and they know me.  I get to work with other local businesses and use their products and services to better mine.  In fact, I know more people now than the previous decade living here.   Funny side note:  As I was writing this blog, a local business friend walked in to say "hi" and discuss a potential opportunity.  So, there you go.  I love that.

So, with that type of connection comes a little bit of fear.  Fear that a community like this cannot sustain itself in a world of instant gratification, large chains and on-line purchasing.  We need to support our local businesses!

If you think about it, when you spend a dollar with a local business or retail shop, a majority of that dollar spent stays in the community. Think about the power of that one dollar.  It travels from your wallet to the storekeeper, who then uses it to pay an employee or their landlord who also lives locally. Then, what if they use that money at a local restaurant or brewery, where it may go back into goods bought from a local baker. It continues to circulate, from one small business to another, helping that business community sustain itself.  All the while, you actually know the person you are spending this dollar with and they know you.

It’s great to “shop small” the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but, it's more important to do so throughout the year. Buy your next book at Buffalo Books and stop next store at SHE for a bottle of hand lotion.  Get that bottle of olive oil at The Abundant Kitchen, or the growler of beer from Hayes Public House.  Instead of buying that table from Pottery Barn, visit a local boutique for a table that is one-of-a-kind.  If your daughter is looking for a gently used prom dress on FaceBook, send her to Ritzy Replay instead.  Buy a cozy sweater at Lillians or a cool pair of boots at Wreath of Franklin. And...stop by Evelyn's for a glass of wine and a flatbread (gluten free from Clover Meadow Bakery) or a mini-cupcake (from Lil' Miss Lulu's Cupcakes).  It will mean everything to that small business owner, and it will help sustain our awesome downtown and surrounding area businesses.

Okay... off my soapbox.  But, if you're interested in supporting us downtown shops, there is a picture of a map in this blog.  You can also stop by Evelyn's for a copy or download here.

I hope to see you soon!

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One Year Later

Evelyn’s has been open for one year.  Looking back, it seems like Evelyn’s has been in downtown Buffalo forever.  Not in an exhausting forever, but an “I feel like I’ve belonged here forever.”  Thank you to all of our customers and the community for making this year one of the most fulfilling and challenging years of my life.

I get asked alot for the story behind Evelyn’s.  I am not a chef who formerly worked tirelessly in someone else’s kitchen.    I have not been in the industry forever and finally opened my own place.  I do not come from a family of restaurateurs.  Evelyn was not in the business, she was simply my grandma whom I loved and missed and I knew she’d be tickled and think “it was the berries” that I named this new adventure Evelyn’s Wine Bar & Bistro.

The story is, I simply did not understand why downtown Buffalo did not have a place like Evelyn’s and I wanted to own and be a part of a place like Evelyn’s.  It’s such a beautiful and special downtown. Quaint shops, cobblestone street, old buildings, old-fashioned movie theater.  Why wasn’t there a place like Evelyn’s to eat and have a glass of wine?  You probably know the rest if you’ve read the “our story” page on our website.

But, also…the timing was right.  I was in an unfulfilling job, I had a desire to be a part of the community, I had the support of the city and chamber of commerce (thank you!), and I had entrepreneurial experience.  Most of all, I have a supportive husband and two daughters who gave me the courage to take the leap.  It was the perfect storm of circumstances. So, I did my research, I met with industry experts, and I built my business plan.

There have been many challenges and some frightening slow days and weeks.  But, most days have been absolutely wonderful.  I have a great team of employees.  They are fun to work with and they care about Evelyn’s and want you to enjoy your time here.  That has been a blessing. Best of all, we have very special customers.  You come in happy, you want to support us, you ask how we are doing, you share your kind words of encouragement… and many of you come back again and again.  I think that is rare in the industry.

So, thank you!  Thank you for your business.  Thank you for making this endeavor enjoyable and fulfilling.  We hope to see you this week as we celebrate our One Year Anniversary.  We have a number of fun activities planned for you.  If you can’t make it in this week, we hope to see you very soon!

Sincerely and in gratitude,

Kristi Paul

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Dogs

Yesterday, I had a very informative conversation with a veteran about his service dog.  We’ve had a few people come in to Evelyn’s with dogs that are service dogs.  Coincidentally, I also received an inquiry yesterday asking if we allow “well-behaved” dogs on our new patio.

I love dogs.  We have three at home… who aren’t always well-behaved.  But not everyone is a dog person, especially where they eat. So, what is our stance on dogs at Evelyn’s?

First of all, the question on service dogs is already defined federally through the ADA (American Disabilities Act). Under the ADA, a service animal is a dog “that has been trained to perform tasks or do work for the benefit of a person with a disability. The tasks or work the animal does must be directly related to the person’s disability.”  They cannot be turned away by a restaurant and I wouldn’t want to turn them away.  I learned a lot from my veteran friend on what service dogs do for their companions and how a service animal is defined by the ADA.  All I can say is please don’t come in to Evelyn’s claiming your dog is an ADA defined service dog — if it is not.  Minnesota has made that illegal.   But more importantly, it’s just shameful.  Service animals do so much good for those who truly need them.  It saddens me that we have to have a law because so many have posed their dogs as service dogs, when they are not.  As much as we love our dogs and like to be with them, it hurts those who truly need them in public places like restaurants.

As for dogs on the patio.  Here is the thing…as much as we love our dogs, not everyone does, especially in a closely confined area where they are eating.  So, we have decided to make the new patio out back dog/pet-free.  BUT, we do have two nice dog-friendly bistro tables in the front of our restaurant where dogs are welcome. We hope this addresses the needs of the dog lovers and non-lovers.

 

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Getting Ready for Summer

Evelyn's Expands!

Our phase two building project has begun..

We have added a patio that seats 20 in the back of our building, which officially opens this Saturday, June 2.  Thank you to Mike Mutterer Construction for the beautiful design.  They completed the job in two days - very impressive!  Buffalo Floral and Landscaping provided the perfect floral accents.  

In addition, Larson Building is overseeing the construction of our new bar in the lower level.  If you can't stand the heat outside, the lower level bar area will be a nice, cool place to hang out, cool off, have a drink and a bite to eat.  Mike Mutterer Construction, Loberg Electric and Monticello Plumbing, Heating and Air are also involved in the project. Expected completion is mid-June.

Both projects almost triple our seating capacity. We feel so blessed to have such reliable and talented businesses in Buffalo to help us make our vision a reality. 

We can't wait to serve you this summer!

 

 

 

The Man, the Myth, the Watchmaker

Pierre-Yves Müller, the notorious Swiss watch maker, is sitting in a minimalistic garden chair outside his house located in the heart of fairy tale Swiss Alps. FashionFreaks were lucky enough to get an interview with this mysterious precision watchmaker.

It strikes me the second I see him, this man is the real deal. Well groomed fingers with nails trimmed to perfection. These hands are his tools and they are taken care of in the same manner an auto repairman takes care of his tools.

Pierre-Yves greets us with a conservative smile, there is no room for small talk in this interview. But small talk is not necessary, we want to know everything about the man and his company, Tick Tock, Tick Tock...

FF Quick Picks

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Kalman Lipstick

The new line of Kalman lipsticks are very exciting. Intense colors and a very long lasting effect. For the price, you get a lot of lipstick. The design of the lipstick looks cheap, though.

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Eamonn Jeans

Eamonn have released a new line of jeans called Eamonn No. 5. If you have the right figure, you're in for a treat. The tight fit looks great, and they are very comfortable to wear. Although pricy, you won't get a much better pair of jeans.

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Aaqil Silk Ties

Luxury ties from Italian makers, Aaqil. These ties are the best looking ties we have seen in a long time. Expensive, yes.. a problem, NO.

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Nuna Streetwear

Kids streetwear from Nuna means color and craziness. Soft materials and wild patterns are the building block of Nuna. Durable, expensive and wild. Can't really beat that.

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Winter at Evelyn’s

I must admit, I keep thinking spring is near.  At least we are finished with January.  But, there’s still quite a bit of winter to go.  That doesn’t mean we can’t get out of the house!  There is a lot happening in downtown Buffalo and at Evelyn’s in the next few months.

If you’re looking for some ideas, make sure you check out the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau’s new website and community resource guide.  Evelyn’s was excited and honored to be on the cover of this year’s edition.   It has plenty of information on things to do in Buffalo.

We are also getting ready for some fun events and promotions at Evelyn’s.  Below are just a few.  Look for more information in the coming weeks here and on our FaceBook page.

Friday, February 9 – Sunday, February 17
Evelyn’s Valentines special – Your choice of a bottle of the house red or white wine, one of our tasty nibbles, a flatbread and one dessert for $44.00. Walk in or make reservations here.

Wednesday, February 21: 6:30 – 9:00
Join us for a Psychic/Medium Gallery in The Cellar at Evelyn’s with Leigh Cohen Wyatt. Registration and ticket purchase will be available on Eventbrite soon.

Wednesday, February 28: 6:30 – 8:30
We will host another Art Around Paint Party in The Cellar at Evelyn’s. The first event this past month was such a hit, we will be painting wine glasses again and offering wine and food specials. Again, we will have registration and ticket purchase available on Eventbrite soon.

Thursday, March 8: Time TBD
Evelyn’s and One Division Art present An Evening of Art and Wine.

Wednesday, March 21: 6:30
Unwind & Wine with Evelyn’s and The Fire Within Yoga.

Thank you to all the fun groups who have reserved our private party space downstairs for birthday parties, bachelorettes, grooms dinners and business events.

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South of the Track

A week or so ago, a new customer stopped by to have some wine and dinner.  During our conversation, he mentioned that he seldom went “south of the track.”  What?  I hadn’t heard this before.  But, I’m guessing there are a lot of people who don’t venture south of the track, into downtown Buffalo.  If you haven’t been here in a while or you have never visited, you’re missing out.  All of a sudden, new businesses are popping up and downtown Buffalo has become a fun place to hang out.  In addition to the successful occasional and antique stores, you will find a number of unique stores and eateries open every week, not just the first of the month.  It’s really exciting to be a part of it.  We’ve seen such enthusiasm for Evelyn’s and we meet new customers every day who haven’t been here before.  So, start thinking “south of the tracks” and spend some time in downtown Buffalo.  The Buffalo Chamber of Commerce has a new website that highlights the shops, places to eat and things to do (http://www.buffalochamber.org/visit-buffalo).  Besides Evelyn’s Wine Bar (and Bistro—we do serve food, after all), there are a number of other new businesses that opened up in the last few months:

Abundant Kitchen (went there last night for a Evelyn’s team outing and we love their cherrywood smoked salt)
One Division Art (just opened last week, can’t wait to check it out)
What’s the Scoop? Ice Cream!!! I don’t care if it’s winter.

This Friday, November 17 is a perfect time to head downtown.  Some of the shops on our block are staying open later! Stop by Evelyn’s for food and wine, go shop, have some ice cream, and maybe check out Hayes Public House too.  Make a night of it in downtown Buffalo.  If you shop at one of these open stores between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., November 17, bring in your receipt and receive $1 off a glass of wine, wine flight, or one of our nibbles.  Offer only good November 17 between 4:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.  Receipt must be from a participating store and dated November 17:  Porch & Atelier, BellaElla’s, Lillians, and Jute, Twine & Burlap.

 

October Update

Get ready for October!  Fall is officially here and it's going to be a great month.  There is so much going on in Buffalo and we are excited to be a part of it.

  • Buffalo Occasional Sales: October 5 - 8
  • Pink Street Party: October 5 - Evelyn's will donate 5% of October sales of our Pink Evelyn's T-shirt, Noble Vines 515 Rose, and Handcraft Chardonnay and Malbec (Handcraft donates a portion of all their sales to breast cancer research, prevention and awareness). The donation will be made to a local breast cancer charity.
  • Ladies Day Out: October 21

We are also making some changes at Evelyn's.

  • We've expanded our hours!  We are now open Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm and Sundays from 11:30 am to 6:00 pm.
  • We are also expanding our red wine list for fall.
  • Flatbread of the month: Caramelized onion, blue cheese, apple slices and pepitas with a sprinkle of black Hawaiian salt. 

 

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Local Finds

Since starting this project, my love for this town just keeps multiplying. I’ve been so fortunate to be surrounded by this community of unique shops, businesses and artists that are helping the dream of Evelyn’s Wine Bar become a reality.

To start, I happened upon a beautiful space with a very open-minded, patient and helpful landlord. First, he’s letting me put a wine bar in his building. Second, he held the space for me for 4 months. But what’s really impressive is that Scott has put his own sweat into this effort. He wanted to help me save money, so he offered to help with the demo. I’m pretty sure he didn’t think it would take the amount of hours it has taken. He even brought one of his employees to help the day before the 4th of July! Thankfully, he knows what he’s doing and has the equipment we needed (i.e. owns a rental business).

Next, I hired Larson Building to lead the construction. They are based in downtown Buffalo and usually oversee church, senior living and larger commercial construction. But, agreed to help me out with my unique little project (at the height of construction season, no less). This project has been a bigger beast than expected. It’s an old building and we’ve uncovered all sorts of fun challenges along the way. They just keep patiently leading the charge and managing the obstacles.

When it came to the bar, it had to be special. There is a great store in Buffalo called Biggs & Co. One of the things I love about this store is the unique furniture. A lot of it is custom designed and built by Tom Biggerstaff. When I walked into the store a few months ago to see if Tom would be interested in building the Evelyn’s bar, I had no idea how helpful this family-run business would be! Tom is one of three siblings involved in Biggs & Co. It was actually his sister, Amy, that I spoke with first. She is the CEO and manages the business. She not only put me in touch with Tom, but she has had multiple great design ideas and introduced me to her other brother, Jeff. Jeff is an incredible artist (check out his work). He will be painting some amazing pieces for one of our interior walls. To say they have been helpful with the interior design of Evelyn’s is an understatement. I’m so excited for everyone to see what they have done!

However, it’s not just the big items, it’s also the local finds. I keep going back to the Porch & Atelier because every time I go in there I find something. Candle holders for the tables and a beautiful chandelier that will be the focal point when you peak into Evelyn’s window. And, then there is Bella Ella’s. So far I’ve purchased more for my house than Evelyn’s because I always find things I like there that I want to keep at home. But I do have a cute mirror that I’m going to put in one of the bathrooms (if I don’t put it in my daughter’s bathroom). I’m pretty sure there is more to find there, as well as many of the other unique shops in town.

So, I guess when it comes down to it, I’m saying please check out all the stores and businesses in downtown Buffalo. I don’t know how I would have built Evelyn’s without them.  There is so much here. I’m so excited to be a part of it!

The Demo Begins

When you watch “demo day” on those HGTV shows, it looks so fun. Let’s just say, it isn’t what its made out to be on TV. But, what is? Yesterday, my husband Doug, landlord Scott, and I spent 7 hours taking down walls that were built to last. We discovered the brick wall downstairs was really a stone and cement wall, which required a jack hammer (sorry neighbors). We learned walls weren’t built with just frame and drywall, but rather lots of wood and plaster (or was it cement?). Thankfully, Scott knew what he was doing, because Doug and I certainly didn’t. And, really, how lucky am I to have a landlord who spent his Sunday helping us out?

Needless to say it was a lot of hard work, but we are now another day closer to opening. Which makes all the hard work very worth it. Plus, it was just cool learning how this awesome old building was constructed. I wish we didn’t have to cover up the beautiful brick wall we discovered in the new kitchen.

Check out more pictures in the gallery.