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Help us build a breakthrough market/incubator for WNY food artisans, bring a talented chef home, and improve our culinary diversity. Read more

Buffalo, NY Food
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Help us build a breakthrough market/incubator for WNY food artisans, bring a talented chef home, and improve our culinary diversity.

Buffalo, NY Food
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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.

Why doesn't Western New York have a shop for locally-made charcuterie? With Mercado, we can
Why doesn't Western New York have a shop for locally-made charcuterie? With Mercado, we can

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.

Inside a mercado in Madrid, Spain
Inside a mercado in Madrid, Spain
A bounty of locally-made chocolates in a Spanish market
A bounty of locally-made chocolates in a Spanish market

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.

A food revolution, declared in San Sebastián, Spain
A food revolution, declared in San Sebastián, Spain

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.

Mercado's Jeremy Horwitz with Albert Adriá of Tickets, 41º, Pakta + el Bulli
Mercado's Jeremy Horwitz with Albert Adriá of Tickets, 41º, Pakta + el Bulli

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. 

A breakfast at Mercado won't be like a breakfast you can make at home
A breakfast at Mercado won't be like a breakfast you can make at home

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? 

Fresh, high-quality seafood: a Mercado priority
Fresh, high-quality seafood: a Mercado priority

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 spotlight both the beauty and flavors of modern foods
Mercado will spotlight both the beauty and flavors of modern foods

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. 

The Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid
The Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid

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.

Why Kickstarter?

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.

About Us

Jeremy with Mateu Casañas, owner of Compartir / former el Bulli chef de cuisine, and Compartir's team
Jeremy with Mateu Casañas, owner of Compartir / former el Bulli chef de cuisine, and Compartir's team

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).

Mercado's culinary director Scott Kollig (right), collaborating with the team at Minibar by José Andrés
Mercado's culinary director Scott Kollig (right), collaborating with the team at Minibar by José Andrés

"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

FAQ

Rewards

  • You selected
    $20 reward

    29 backers

    Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Plus: Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $25 reward

    75 backers

    Three coffee bar drinks from Mercado's gourmet coffee shop. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $25 reward

    76 backers

    One breakfast or lunch item of your choice at Scott Kollig's destination inside Mercado. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $45 reward

    3 backers All gone!

    For early backers, an awesome, high-quality Mercado T-shirt developed by our graphic design-obsessed founders. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $45 reward

    5 backers All gone!

    For early backers, a beautiful reusable Mercado carrying bag selected by our most bag-loving and eco-conscious founder (Christina). Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $50 reward

    26 backers

    An awesome, high-quality Mercado T-shirt developed by our graphic design-obsessed founders. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $50 reward

    25 backers

    A beautiful reusable Mercado carrying bag selected by our most bag-loving and eco-conscious founder (Christina). Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $50 reward

    35 backers

    JUST ADDED: Two breakfast or lunch items of your choice at Scott Kollig's destination inside Mercado. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $50 reward

    5 backers

    NEW: Mercado: Kickstarting a Market Book + Either 3 Coffees or a Breakfast/Lunch Item. You'll get a digital copy of our book about how to crowdfund a WNY-focused dream project, and the choice of our 3 gourmet coffee drink reward or 1 breakfast/lunch item from Scott Kollig's destination inside Mercado. (We'll ask for your specific choice in a survey.) Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge. NOTE: YOU CAN ALSO ADD $25 TO ANY OTHER PLEDGE OF $50 OR MORE TO GET OUR BOOK.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $75 reward

    17 backers Limited (3 left of 20)

    Beverage Theory Class: With experience in making everything from homemade sodas to fresh fruit juices and fancy drinks, Scott will teach the modern and classic theories behind beverage design in this fun one-off class. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $80 reward

    4 backers Limited (16 left of 20)

    Enjoy a diverse and delicious lunch for one at our exclusive soft opening, getting a peek inside Mercado before the general public. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $100 reward

    20 backers All gone!

    Enjoy a diverse and delicious dinner for one at our exclusive soft opening, getting a peek inside Mercado before the general public. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $100 reward

    14 backers

    Long-Distance Supporter: Combine a limited-edition jet black Mercado shirt with a handsome jet black Mercado baseball cap, both developed by our graphic design-obsessed founders. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $150 reward

    9 backers

    NEW Mercado Jacket + VIP Tapas Party (For 1): This high-quality embroidered Mercado black fleece jacket (http://t.co/mfxjRghCyL) was originally intended solely for Mercado's founders. We love them so much that we're offering them as upgrades from T-shirts (local pick-up only). You'll also get an invite to our new early VIP Spanish tapas party, as well as your name on the Mercado wall, our thanks on our website, a group Facebook thanks, and a thank you tweet. Increase your backing to $200 and bring a second person to the party!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $200 reward

    1 backer

    NEW Beverage Theory 101 + Beverage Theory 201 + VIP Tapas Party (For 1): Start with the basic Beverage Theory class above, and add an advanced 201 class for more exciting liquid magic! You'll also get an invite for one to our new early VIP Spanish tapas party, your name on the community wall at Mercado, our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website, a group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge. Increase your backing to $250 and bring a second person to the VIP party!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $250 reward

    24 backers Limited (6 left of 30)

    Prepare to swoon over an incredible Mercado-assembled tasting menu for two people, including dinner and drinks curated by Scott Kollig. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $500 reward

    1 backer Limited (29 left of 30)

    Attend one of two modernist cooking classes offered by Scott Kollig: Theory or Practice. In class 1, Scott will walk you through the techniques and concepts behind the famous Minibar, WD-50, and other modern restaurants; class 2 will focus on preparing a collection of dishes using modern techniques. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $500 reward

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    JUST ADDED: The Grand Tour! Get an exclusive guided tour for one of Mercado, including snack and drink stops at 15 (!) booths, hosted by our founder Jeremy Horwitz. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $600 reward

    4 backers

    NEW Dinner For 4 + VIP Tapas Party (For 4): As an upgrade to our dinner for 2, get a small group together for an incredible Mercado-assembled tasting menu, including dinner and drinks for 4 people, curated by Scott Kollig. You'll also get 4 (!) spots at our new early VIP Spanish tapas party, your name on the community wall at Mercado, our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website, a group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $700 reward

    0 backers Limited (40 left of 40)

    Attend both of two modernist cooking classes offered by Scott Kollig: Theory and Practice. In class 1, Scott will walk you through the techniques and concepts behind the famous Minibar, WD-50, and other famous restaurants; class 2 will focus on preparing a collection of dishes using modern techniques, and food will be provided! Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $750 reward

    2 backers Limited (8 left of 10)

    JUST ADDED: The Grand Tour For Two! Get an exclusive guided tour for two of Mercado, including snack and drink stops at 15 (!) booths, hosted by our founder Jeremy Horwitz. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $1,000 reward

    5 backers Limited (45 left of 50)

    Tasting Dinner for Eight. If you want to host a national-class dinner party, just wait until you try this incredible Mercado-assembled multi-course tasting menu for eight people, including dinner and drinks curated by Scott Kollig. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $5,000 reward

    1 backer

    Elite Dinner Party For Ten. Ready to go all out? Hosted at Mercado or your local-area home, this premium tasting menu for ten people will include spectacular international delicacies such as caviar, Spanish jamon iberico de bellota, and deluxe beverage pairings selected by Scott Kollig. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $10,000 reward

    4 backers

    Private Party: Use Mercado's entire space and special tasting menus for an invite-only, exclusive event of your choice for up to 30 guests. If you're celebrating a graduation, holiday, birthday, or the "rebirth of WNY," Mercado will help you put on a party tailored to your needs. Provide us with at least 60 days advance notice, and we'll put it together for you. Plus: Your name on the community wall at Mercado. Our sincere thanks displayed on the Mercado website. A group thanks on our Facebook page, and a tweet thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $10,000 reward

    1 backer

    Gold Backer: Pledge at this level and your personal or company name will be beautifully engraved with golden finish at the most easily visible place on our community backer wall, or featured in a color rendition of your logo, as you choose. We'll prominently display a long-term sincere thanks on Mercado's website, individual thanks on our Facebook page, and post on Twitter thanking you for your pledge.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (38 days)