BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Every week in our new City Shapers segment, we'll be celebrating Western New York by highlighting Buffalo businesses and the people building them.
Ballyhoo is a bar and restaurant owned by a husband and wife. He is from here. She fell in love with him... and Buffalo.
Co-owner Timothy Stevens moved to San Diego for eight years where he met his wife, Morgan, and then moved back. They opened Ballyhoo in 2014.
"When somebody comes here, what kind of experience can they expect to have?" asked 2 On Your Side’s Kelly Dudzik.
"I would like to say that not one person could walk through that door and we don't have something here to offer them. Whether you're jogging, riding your bike, enjoying ice skating over at Riverworks or Canalside, you can walk through our door without any pretense," says Timothy.
They don't just work at Ballyhoo, they live upstairs.
The food focus is on unique house-made sausages. The drink menu features everything from local beer to craft cocktails made with jam.
"What's it like seeing the reaction of the people who are enjoying all of this creativity and all of this hard work you've put in to here?" asked Kelly.
“The whole spectrum of human emotion comes into a bar. And it's just, that's the best part, so like when we're upstairs, we can hear people laughing, we can hear people cheering," says Morgan. "Buffalo makes people want to be here. It's inviting. It made it feel like home almost immediately because everybody was so welcoming."
"What has it been like to be part of the resurgence of Buffalo?" asked Kelly.
"It's great because I've been in the bar and restaurant industry my entire life, 25 years of ups and downs, so to see us actually get recognized and really grab a hold of a scene that's so vibrant and lively right now, is about as exciting as it gets," says Timothy.
"There's so much creativity that's supported here in Buffalo, which is something new to me from not being here. It's open to anything that you can dream of," says Morgan.
"What advice do you have for people who are thinking about starting their own business or joining a business in WNY?" asked Kelly.
"We need to bring big city thoughts to our city. We are a big city. We're a big city at heart that's for sure. We're a big city in mind, that's for sure. There's a lot of outside investment coming in, but we still have to be the citizens of Buffalo, New York. If we want to do that, we've got to make it ours by creating from the inside out so let's kind of take care of that while we can and as all of this other investment comes in, we'll still have our own identity and still be Buffalo, New York," said Timothy.
The Stevens are getting ready to open up a new restaurant in downtown Buffalo. They won't say much about the concept yet, but they did say it's something that hasn't been done here yet.
You can find Ballyhoo at the corner of South Park and Michigan in the Buffalo’s Cobblestone District.
If you have a City Shaper you'd like Kelly to feature, feel free to send her an email.