FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, NOVEMBER 2, 2016: MAYOR BROWN AND BUFFALO OLMSTED PARKS CONSERVANCY ANNOUNCE THE TERRACE @ DELAWARE PARK RESTAURANT TO OPEN IN HISTORIC MARCY CASINO
Magnolia Events will open a new, year-round, family-friendly restaurant in early January as a result of substantial collaboration between the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Community Members
(To download a PDF of the press release, click here)
BUFFALO, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy announced an agreement for Magnolia Events to open The Terrace @ Delaware Park restaurant in the historic Marcy Casino. A soft opening of the new restaurant is anticipated in January, following approximately eight to ten weeks of renovations to the main floor of the casino, which will begin next week.
“I look forward to the opening of The Terrace @ Delaware Park. It will provide a unique dining experience and another reason to spend time in Delaware Park every season of the year. I have committed more than $850,000 in capital funding for the Marcy Casino since becoming Mayor, and we will continue to work in partnership with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy to sustain and improve all of our historic parks,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “I am also pleased that we will continue to work closely with the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and members of the community to achieve this agreement. This new chapter builds on the nearly $23 million in capital improvements my administration has invested in the Olmsted Parks since entering into our partnership with the Conservancy in 2010.”
The prior structural improvements completed by the City included deck, railing and column reconstruction on the terrace, a new elevator, window replacement and stone work on the exterior of the building.
“Many may not realize that the mission of the Conservancy is twofold in preserving and restoring our historic parks, as well as maintaining and raising funds to sustain them,” said Stephanie Crockatt, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy’s executive director. “The shared earned revenue from this venture has the potential to support five seasonal park workers, and a further positive is it will allow the public access to this wonderful facility and through their patronage will support the Olmsted parks. We thank Mayor Brown and partners at the city, Magnolia, and the community for collaboratively moving this opportunity forward, and we will keep everyone engaged in its evaluation.”
In 2012, the Conservancy issued a public RFP for vendor services at the Marcy Casino. Of the three bids, Magnolia Events was named the sole vendor responsible for the management and operation of the building. Since that time, the building has been used for private functions and is a popular wedding venue. In 2014, a leading brides magazine named the Rose Garden and the Marcy Casino as one of the top wedding facilities.
Last November, Magnolia Events submitted a proposal to the Conservancy to open the main floor to the public and become a year-round restaurant overlooking Hoyt Lake. Over the past 10 months, the City of Buffalo, the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and Magnolia Events conducted three public input sessions, distributed a survey to Delaware Park neighbors and posted an online survey.
More than 80 percent of the residents who participated or responded were in favor of the proposal. There is now an agreement in place with specific policies and procedures that address the concerns of parking, park safety and restaurant hours. Under its contract, The Terrace @ Delaware Park is required to conclude food and drink orders in time to close by 10 p.m.
Private events will continue to be on the lower level under the terms of a pre-existing contract and the main level will be open to the public.
Under the new three-year contract, Magnolia will be subject to annual reviews, as requested by the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and the community, to examine the restaurant’s business plan, present any operational recommendations or enhancements, and ensure obligations of the operator are being met.
Magnolia will be investing in enhancements that maintain the historic integrity and will include equipment upgrades to the existing kitchen, hardwood floors, interior and exterior lighting, a custom bar, new plumbing and electrical and security cameras.
“We believe, The Terrace @ Delaware Park will prove to be a great community and park asset and will fit right in with Olmsted’s vision for Delaware Park,” said Jason Davidson, managing partner of The Terrace @ Delaware Park. “We’re humbled by all the incredible support we’ve received from the BOPC, the City of Buffalo and the residents of our great city.”
The menu will feature hand-carved sandwiches, house-made soups and a children’s menu. The restaurant will be designed to be a family-friendly refuge with hot chocolate for park visitors looking to warm up while enjoying winter park activities.
The summer menu will be a “shared plates” concept with a seasonal farm-to-table aspect, perfect for casual summer patio dining and Shakespeare in the Park attendees. Lunch service will have more traditional offerings as well. At this time, breakfast and brunch service is also being considered. “Liberty Hound has received numerous ‘best restaurant with a view’ awards, so we’re excited to open The Terrace @ Delaware Park and be our own best competition,” said Davidson.
Background on the Marcy Casino:
The original boathouse was designed by Calvert Vaux, Frederick Law Olmsted’s architectural partner in the creation of Buffalo’s park system facilities. That structure was demolished and replaced with a casino designed by the Green and Wicks firm for the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. The building has sat magnificently on the shore of Gala Water, now Hoyt Lake, serving thousands who wish to recreate, congregate and socialize.
In 1875, an early Parks Commission report indicated that the restaurant operating in the boathouse was turning a profit of $1,400 and that community leaders were considering expanding service as popularity of the park amenity grew. It also noted that profits were earmarked to care for the building. For the next 100 years, various dining options would come and go, and the casino building would see periods of restoration and decline.
The casino building at one time was four stories high. The restorative redesign of the building around 1990, did not include a fourth floor. The facility, including the covered lower terrace, is only 5,143 square feet, with capacity for roughly 275 – 280 total guests. In 2013, the city dedicated $2.1 million of its annual capital budget to rehabilitate the interior and install an elevator for ADA compliance. These improvements were seriously needed after years of neglect and overuse. The capital restoration effort also included the refurbishment of the kitchen for food and beverage service.
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About the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the first nonprofit organization in the nation to manage and operate an entire urban park system that consist of 850 acres of beautifully designed parks, parkways and circles. The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is a not-for-profit, membership-based, community organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, protect, restore, enhance, and maintain the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks and parkways in the Greater Buffalo area for current and future generations. More than 2.5 million people use Buffalo’s historic, award-winning Olmsted park system annually for recreation, relaxation and rejuvenation. The parks were designed by America’s first landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, nearly 150 years ago. Basic maintenance of the parks has been greatly improved since the 2004 groundbreaking public/private agreement with the City of Buffalo and Erie County. Since that time, the Olmsted Parks Conservancy, now partnering with the City of Buffalo, has retained full responsibility for the management and care of these green spaces which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most recently, the American Planning Association recognized Delaware Park as one of the 2014 Great Places in America and The Guardian named Olmsted‘s park system as one of the top ten parks in the world.
The Buffalo Parks System includes:
Six Parks: Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo, Delaware Park in Delaware/Parkside District, Front Park at the Peace Bridge, Martin Luther King, Jr. Park at Fillmore Avenue, Riverside Park at Niagara and Tonawanda Street, and South Park at McKinley Parkway.
Seven Parkways: Bidwell, Chapin, Lincoln, McKinley, Porter, Red Jacket, and Richmond.
Eight Landscaped Circles: Agassiz, Colonial, Ferry, Gates, McClellan, McKinley, Soldiers, and Symphony.
About Magnolia Events:
Co-owned by Jason Davidson and Michael Shatzel, Magnolia Events is an exclusive catering and special events sister company to Liberty Hound Restaurant.
City of Buffalo contact: Sharon Linstedt, Communications Coordinator, 716-851-4246
Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy contact: Stephanie Crockatt, Executive Director, 716-838-1249
(To download a PDF of the press release, click here)