The food and drink is finally flowing in a year-round restaurant on Buffalo's burgeoning Inner Harbor, with the opening of the Liberty Hound restaurant in the main building of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.
Liberty Hound is gradually ramping up operations over the holiday weekend and training staff for a full operation and a full menu on Tuesday.
An attempt to put a restaurant there last year turned into a struggle among the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, the Naval Park, and City Hall, which owns the building.
Co-owner and general manager Jason Davidson says the operators brought in a chef with experience for a menu filled with fresh seafood. Davidson says the menu reflects the lakefront location.
"Besides having, I think, a need for a waterfront restaurant, I think Buffalo really has a need for a seafood-focused restaurant, as well. We found a great chef [and] we imported him. He's been around Mississippi and Boston and Dallas. He's an avid fisherman. He's passionate about seafood as much as [co-owner] Mike [Shatzel] and I are," said Davidson.
"The Shatzels are great operators. Michael Shatzel does a great job with the Blue Monk on Elmwood Avenue. They're young [and] they're going to bring a youthful element to waterfront development," said Rep. Brian Higgins, a longtime champion of the Inner Harbor.
Mayor Brown says it's important that the Liberty Hound will be open year-round.
"There are more and more events downtown. Last year [there were] over 400 events in the summer on the waterfront. This year, I'm pushing that there be about 650,000 people coming to downtown Buffalo. They want places to eat, they want things to do, and this restaurant is a wonderful addition," Brown said.
A "liberty hound" is a nickname for a Marine who is a little too concerned with his off-duty time, perhaps hanging around a bar while looking over a lake.