BUFFALO, N.Y. — After an accidental fire caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage Tuesday morning, the West Side Bazaar is searching for kitchens for its restaurants to use temporarily.
Normally a busy place for lunch and dinner, boasting shops and seven restaurants, many owned by people in the immigrant and refugee communities, the West Side Bazaar on Grant Street remains quiet for now as insurance adjusters do their work.
"The first day, everyone including me, we were all in shock," said Erin St. John Kelly, director of external relations at WEDI.
A devastating accidental fire caused about $300,000 in damage to the building and what was inside on Tuesday morning.
"But then we woke up on Wednesday, feeling sad, but filled with adrenaline," St. John Kelly said.
After a call to action online, people from all over the country have offered financial support.
"We've had an outpouring of online giving, and it's just been wonderful because today we got $5 from Houston, and we've had Winooski, Brooklyn, Queens, Montana, Missouri. People are sending us, we have about 250 online donations right now and they're all, most of them, are first-time donors, and many of them are no more, everything is $5 to $50. We have like maybe three of the 250 are more than $50," St. John Kelly said.
The business owners also need somewhere to make their food. They are already setup from the pandemic to do delivery and takeout.
They just need kitchens.
A lot of offers have come in since the new space on Niagara Street won't be ready for 10 months to a year from now, but they're still searching.
"What we really need a restaurant to have, it turns out after three days of vetting places, is a hood. We need to have a commercial hood. A lot of people, it's turning out like they have a panini press. They're making bar food, but they don't have a commercial hood, and that's what we need for our people to get back in business," St. John Kelly said.
All seven restaurants do not need to be in the same space. Ideally, they're looking for pop-ups and ghost kitchens.