BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) – Niagara Cafè has served the downtown Buffalo community for almost 30 years.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, 7ABC is digging into the mouth watering staple on the west side of Buffalo. The station visited the restaurant to see if they would reveal their recipe for success.
“When this place went up for sale it[Maria’s husband] said ‘I think we’re going to teach Buffalo how to eat rice and beans and go on a bigger scale!’ It was perfect: the building, the parking lot. Right in the center of the community, ”recalls Maria Hernandez, co-owner of Niagara Cafè.
On Niagara Street, in the heart of downtown Buffalo, is Queen City’s Niagara Cafè, owned by Maria Hernandez and her husband Raúl.
“Before, we had a grocery store and we always wanted to name it after the street. When we had the grocery store, he didn’t call it that. proximity to Niagara Falls too. “says Hernandez.” I wanted to include Niagara, instead of having a Spanish name that we’re very proud of, but we wanted to identify with the community, and Niagara Street was. “
The restaurant serves Buffalo’s better Puerto Rican food.
“The bestseller is roast chicken,” Hernandez said. “The rice, the roast pork, the marinated steak with onions. It is very appreciated with the sauce and the onions. It is very good.”
The popular restaurant draws customers from near and far to have a bite to eat in the house-style cafe.
“We’re proud of our community here. She’s embraced us for almost 30 years. And not just here, we have people coming from out of town, as far as California or Canada, wherever. either. They always say they have to go in and make a stop at Niagara Cafè before going home. It’s just a good feeling to hear that, “she said.
Don’t think you can make your own seasoning at home, because Hernandez says it’s Top secret!
She said, “We season our food with spices – island spices. It is not a hot food. It is not spicy. It just tastes great with the spices we have. We take great pride in the way we season our food and the taste has taken on. “
Hernandez told 7ABC that Niagara Cafè actually started out as a Puerto Rican pizza place.
“My husband has always been a person who imagines things and makes them happen. When this property went up for sale, we had already launched a satellite, say, we launched Puerto Rican Pizza just down the street. mixed with pizza and Puerto Rican food. It worked great but it was a very small place. “
However, Maria and her husband Raul eventually developed the successful business that it is today: 29 years later.
When asked what her recipe for success was, she replied:
“Oh! Never give up! He[Raul] always has a positive attitude. He says if you don’t take a risk you will never get there. Take a chance and see where it goes, and that’s what happened here, ”she explained. “We started from there. Thank goodness our pride and our community have made this such a good and very positive company. From there, it just wasn’t about looking back. “
While the pandemic has put a damper on many restaurants, Niagara Cafe has not been immune. The restaurant continued operations after three months and rebounded in revenue. However, indoor seating has been permanently removed from the restaurant.
Follow Niagara Café updates, here.
For more Hispanic Heritage Month stories from the 7ABC team, click here.