Mercado Revolution: Artisanal Market & Dining for Buffalo
Mercado Revolution: Artisanal Market & Dining for Buffalo
Help us build a breakthrough market/incubator for WNY food artisans, bring a talented chef home, and improve our culinary diversity.
Help us build a breakthrough market/incubator for WNY food artisans, bring a talented chef home, and improve our culinary diversity. Read more
About this project
Mercado: In One Sentence
Curated by an amazing chef, Mercado will create a central hub for Western New York artisanal foods and upscale casual dining, bringing over 15 distinctive dining options - chef- and artisan-operated - under one roof for the first time in local history.
What Will Be Inside Mercado?
Spanish, Chinese, and American breakfast/lunch/brunch restaurants by Chef Scott Kollig, formerly of Minibar by José Andrés, WD-50, and Cafe Boulud. A Mexican/global test kitchen by Lloyd Tacos, frozen treats by Lake Effect Ice Cream, Italian pasta by The Pasta Peddler, hot glazed snacks from The Bavarian Nut Company, and other local artisanal vendors! We'll also offer gourmet coffee, fresh fruit juice/soda, and cocktail destinations, plus a pastry shop by Chef Monica Amtower, formerly of The Inn at Little Washington and Cafe Boulud, an edible plant and flower shop, and much, much more. See our FAQs at the bottom of this page for all the details!
Who Supports Mercado?
In addition to local media and top WNY artisanal providers, Mercado has been supported by national culinary superstars including Iron Chef Michael Symon (Lola/Lolita), Chefs José Andrés and Rick Billings (ThinkFoodGroup), Chef Katie Button (Cúrate), Chef Francisco Migoya (Hudson Chocolates), and RX Liquid Chef Rob Floyd (Library Bar LA), as well as acclaimed Chef Kevin Sousa, creator of the most successful Kickstarter restaurant project in history (Superior Motors). Importantly, we've been backed by hundreds of Western New Yorkers looking for better food and beverage options.
Mercado: Our Revolution, Summarized
Great food can change things - one small dish can define a city, one small restaurant can revitalize a neighborhood, and one small group of restaurants can attract tourists from around the world. Dedicated to improving our home towns in Western New York, our mission is to make great food accessible to Buffalo and its many suburbs, bringing a revolutionary new culinary destination to life for our community.
Mercado will kickstart the Buffalo/Niagara region by assembling over 15 different, excellent restaurants under one "market" roof - a centralized hub where anyone can sample products from Western New York's top food artisans, watching from counter seating as dishes are made. The market will also serve as an incubator and lab for the next generation of Buffalo culinary success stories. Thanks to culinary director Scott Kollig, Mercado will bring the latest techniques and world-class ingredients to WNY from Washington, D.C., where Scott has worked for celebrity chefs as a chef de partie and sommelier. Working together, we will create an incredible culinary bazaar - a one-stop shop to experience the future of food and drinking.
Amazing food, amazing drinks, and an amazing place unlike anything Western New York has ever experienced - that's Mercado - The Culinary Bazaar. Major cities across the world have thriving markets like this, but until now, no one here has put all of the pieces together to make the concept a reality. With your help, we'll open Mercado this year, in a central location accessible to as much of our community as possible.
Mercado: Our Vision + Story
Mercado's team has committed nearly three years of our lives to researching and developing a breakthrough plan for Western New York. Inspired by chefs such as José Andrés, Wylie Dufresne, and Michael Symon, whose restaurants have been credited with turning around troubled neighborhoods and cities, we traveled around the world, learning about great restaurants, chefs, and public markets. There was clearly a connection between fresh, high-quality ingredients, creative chefs, and memorably amazing dining experiences.
In the process, we witnessed a global food revolution in progress - a reinvention and democratization of great food initiated by Spanish chefs Ferran and Albert Adrià, and their former team from el Bulli, "the greatest restaurant in the world." The revolution was based upon excellent food markets, which offered immediate access to top-quality products, as well as chefs using cutting-edge techniques to maximize the products' flavors and textures. Without a single Spanish restaurant or a public market to call its own, Buffalo was about to miss out on this food revolution. So we decided to change the game.
We envisioned a single destination where people with very different tastes could all find great things to eat, with each item prepared by a true artisan. Paying tribute to Spain, Mercado will include an authentic Spanish tapas restaurant, as well as a modern breakfast/lunch/brunch destination, and a Chinese dim sum shop. We sought out local artisans who were ready to bring their products to a bigger stage, challenging them to dream up incredible new things that Buffalo - maybe even the world - could never have imagined before. Leading WNY artisans joining Mercado include Lake Effect Ice Cream (next-gen frozen treats), Lloyd Taco Trucks (next-gen Mexican), The Pasta Peddler (100% fresh Italian), and The Bavarian Nut Company (hot snacks), plus several others. We'll also offer a gourmet coffee shop, a fresh fruit juice and soda shop, and unique spaces for cocktails and wine.
Visiting Mercado, you might start with a soda made with fresh juice, try some Spanish tapas, sample hand-made raviolis with sauce, then enjoy a hot, sweet crepe for dessert. Or you could grab just one cuisine worth of fresh, compelling foods to bring home: just-cooked tortillas for tacos, sparkling aquas frescas, and cinnamon-dusted churros, paired with a pint of the area's best-tasting ice cream. Given these options - and many more - how often would you visit?
Then we took the concept to the next level. We partnered with a veteran of famous restaurants including Washington's Minibar by José Andrés, Florida's Cafe Boulud, and New York's WD-50 - a native of Western New York who wanted to return home to share his knowledge. Having attended Clarence schools and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, Scott Kollig was ready to share avant garde magic tricks with Buffalo's top artisans, improving the quality of food throughout the entire region. Scott will bring tapas, dim sum, brunch, and beverages to all-new heights at Mercado.
Mercado will be Western New York’s first culinary bazaar, and it will be spectacular. Built on the solid foundations of Spanish markets such as Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel and Barcelona’s Mercat de la Boqueria, and informed by successful American versions such as Washington, D.C.’s Union Market, Mercado will be a fantastic place to eat, drink, and participate in the global food revolution.
Beyond our own walls, we strongly believe that a beautiful market will have a positive influence on local artisanal food and Western New York dining in general. Mercado has already been described as a "game-changer" by local media - all we need is your support to bring it to life.
In order to do something great for our community, we're taking on a project that's bigger than us: it involves building a spacious market for leading food artisans and an incubator for chefs from across our region. Just like food trucks, which we strongly supported several years ago when their local impact was uncertain, Mercado will bring major positive changes to Western New York. Our market will create new jobs, a wonderful, tourist-class destination, plus substantial improvements in local food quality and diversity.
Is our funding goal realistic? Yes. Mercado is seeking $20,000 less than Sensordrone, the best-funded Buffalo project in Kickstarter history, and 1/2 as much as Superior Motors, the best-funded restaurant project in Kickstarter history, which raised over $310,000 in January to serve a community of only 2,000 people. With over 1.1 million people in the Buffalo-Niagara region, we can definitely build this incredible market together.
Note that we chose Kickstarter with the full understanding that we'll get nothing if we don't reach our funding goal - when you back us, your card doesn't get charged unless we hit our target. We're not going to take a cent unless we have enough to move forward. Your support will literally make this happen.
Jeremy Horwitz creates amazing things and organizes people. During college, he redefined video game journalism by creating one of the very first Internet-based publications, which Ziff-Davis Publishing purchased in 1996. Starting in 2003, he helped build iLounge into the world’s leading authority on Apple's iPod, iPhone, and iPad products, then unified hundreds of companies to form the world’s largest exhibition of new Apple accessories, the now-127,000-square foot iLounge Pavilion at CES. Motivated by lifelong passions for food and travel, he created the amazing regional restaurant review site Buffalo Chow, dedicated to introducing Buffalo food to the world, and global food trends to Buffalo. While writing Buffalo Chow, he discovered systemic local food service problems, spending nearly three years of R&D and creating Mercado Revolution to solve them. Happily married to Christina, and father to two daughters, he is a graduate of SUNY at Buffalo (B.A., departmental honors), Canisius College (M.B.A.), and Cornell Law School (J.D., cum laude).
"I've always wanted to bring what I've learned back to Western New York, but we have far too many big ideas to squeeze into a traditional restaurant. With your help, Mercado's focus on quality and variety will be world-class. Our goal is to create one of the greatest markets on the planet." - Scott Kollig
Scott Kollig makes wonderful things to eat and drink. A 2010 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Scott has worked in the kitchens of Manhattan’s WD-50 (Pastry Sous Chef, 2010-2011), West Palm Beach’s Cafe Boulud (Chef de Partie, 2011-2012), and Washington’s minibar by Jose Andres (Chef de Partie, 2012-2014), the most exclusive and creative restaurant in the nation’s capital. While assisting at minibar’s cocktail laboratory barmini, he earned his Certified Sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers, recently joining Wit & Wisdom's beverage program. Now an expert in both food preparation and beverage service, he will curate Mercado's food and drink programs as culinary director.
Risks and challenges
Yes, we have taken on a big task in building this grand market. After roughly three years of R&D, meetings with stakeholders, and incredible excitement all around, our single biggest challenge is the one we're handling through Kickstarter: fundraising. We need (and sincerely appreciate) your help on the financial side.
Gathering the funds to launch a project of this scope definitely isn't easy, including a lease, renovations, and equipment expenses, but we're making smart, practical choices to reduce our costs while delivering an outstanding experience for Western New York. We are currently in lease discussions regarding multiple potential spaces, and working to choose the best centrally-located building to serve the community. This process has risks, but there are enough vacant properties in the area that we believe we'll make it work. Sticking to timelines is always a challenge, but we're aiming to open this coming winter, and started work very early so that we could meet that goal.
Mercado has the vision, the people, and far more (amazing) specifics than we're publicly posting. We're also extremely disciplined, and have done so much advance planning/heavy lifting that our key expenses are fairly concrete (and related to concrete). It's all execution at this point. We've handled the R&D expenses already.
It's our commitment to you that 100% of the funds we receive from this campaign will go directly into opening Mercado: from the lease to renovations, equipment, and supplies, the funds will go towards securing and beautifying our site. As noted in our Kickstarter video, our goal is to rehabilitate an abandoned building, but the specifics will vary depending on our level of funding and site availability. We have actively pursued and sought out abandoned buildings, but have also been offered other opportunities, and will make a practical decision.
We have deliberately remained quiet about most of the vendors who will be located inside Mercado, but there's good news: we've quietly forged viable, long-term collaborations with multiple local artisans. The sustainability of Mercado for decades has been a key goal for us since the beginning.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We have already announced the following food and beverage artisans for Mercado:
An authentic Spanish tapas bar with wine and cheese,
A breakthrough breakfast, lunch, and brunch restaurant curated by Chef Scott Kollig, our culinary director (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/765904),
A Chinese dim sum restaurant,
A destination for innovative cocktails (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/773470),
An exclusive pop-up space for entrepreneurial local chefs (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/775763),
A fresh fruit juice and homemade soda shop (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/769494),
A haute and humble dessert shop (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/783420),
An innovative edible plant and flower shop designed to bring healthy foods and natural beauty into guests' homes (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/784341),
A brand new test kitchen for Lloyd Taco Trucks, Buffalo's first and most award-winning food truck, featuring upgraded Mexican and international foods alongside creative new options (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/791909),
A special location of Lake Effect Ice Cream, Lockport's award-winning local creator of artisanal ice creams, sundaes, and edible icicles (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/789780),
A new location for The Bavarian Nut Company, Clarence's artisanal purveyor of glazed, chocolate, spiced, and plain nuts including pecans, almonds, cashews, and peanuts (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/789780), and
A new location for The Pasta Peddler, which started in Depew as a packaged pasta provider to farmers' markets, and will serve freshly-made pasta, ravioli, and sauce within Mercado (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/790957).
Mercado plans to have over 15 shops at launch, each laser-focused on doing a specific cuisine or type of beverage spectacularly well. The remaining shops have all been determined, but have not yet been announced.
Our goal is to be as centrally located as possible within Erie County, so we can be accessible to as many people as possible within a 20-minute radius. We're currently looking at buildings in two primary locations: Amherst-adjacent sites in Buffalo, and Buffalo-adjacent sites in Amherst. Other options under consideration include sites in Tonawanda and Williamsville that are immediately next to Amherst. See https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts/768330 for more details.
Demonstrating our commitment to our backers and the Western New York community, the Mercado team offers incredible daily updates on our Kickstarter updates page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts (reverse chronological order).
We've been blessed to receive enthusiastic praise from a wide variety of local and national food experts, including leading chefs, mixologists, and journalists. Browse our Kickstarter Updates page ( https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2063056242/mercado-revolution-artisanal-market-and-dining-for/posts ) for the latest endorsements - here are just a few:
“This project is going to be something truly amazing. I can’t wait to see Jeremy and Scott's dream come into life! Anyone in their right mind will do anything they can to get these guys into their space as soon as possible. Scott is a incredibly multi-faceted chef/sommelier that I know is going to bring something very cool and delicious to Buffalo."
- Rick Billings, Head Pastry Chef, ThinkFoodGroup
"Mercado Revolution is a culinary masterpiece for all chefs and mixologists. A brilliant idea brought to life by a brilliant man, Jeremy Horwitz!"
- Rob Floyd, President, RXLiquidChef + Cocktail Theatre, recently billed as "the best bartender in the world."
"They’ve done an amazing job collecting wonderful experiences throughout the world, and they want to bring some of what they’ve experienced here to western New York. But it hasn’t just been as facile as checking out markets and copying what they observe – they’ve done proper research and spoken with the people who run these facilities and operate the stalls. They have a particular vision, and if they pull it off it’ll be magnificent."
"We’ve heard a couple names of people who may be involved in this project and if that happens, we will be there on an almost daily basis... Mercado is something that any foodie would love and could be the next big step forward in Buffalo’s already exciting food scene."
- Buffalo Eats
"The Mercado Revolution is simple in concept, but intricate in just how it will be the game changer that the area needs."
"If you haven’t heard yet, local visionary Jeremy Horwitz is hoping to open a Mercado like nothing Buffalo & WNY have ever seen. Jeremy has teamed up with Chef Scott Kollig of Washington’s minibar by Jose Andres to create a highly anticipated project that will bring a social element to food that we’ve been longing for in WNY for a long time."
- Step Out Buffalo
Back us. Don't wait until the last minute - help us reach our goal! You'd be amazed by the number of successful Kickstarter campaigns, even big ones, that are only funded in their last 24 hours. Your contribution today will make other people more likely to contribute, so don't wait.
And spread the word about Mercado. If you know people who care about Western New York's food quality and diversity, tell them about us. We need your help - and the support of our community - to make Mercado happen. You'll have our sincere appreciation and commitment to work every day on behalf of the area's culinary needs.
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