By Rick Miller
A Buffalo native, William Bursee plans to bring a little bit of Buffalo to Ellicottville.
The two-story building taking shape on Route 219 across from Tim Hortons will house a restaurant/bar with 54 taps, Bursee said during a recent tour of the facility.
An attached 5,000-square-foot facility will brew a variety of beers and distill liquors.
“I grew up in Buffalo,” said Bursee, a retired building contractor who now lives in Springville. “I used to shine shoes in the Broadway-Fillmore area.”
The trademarked beers will be named after the Buffalo neighborhoods: Iron Island, Black River, Kaisertown, First Ward and Fruit Belt. “They all have a history,” he said. “We’re going to brew beer to the style of the neighborhoods.”
The bar/restaurant and microbrewery/distillery will employ between 10 and 14 people in its first year. The $750,000 project received tax assistance from the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency and a loan from the Cattaraugus County Economic Development Loan Fund.
Tim Hooker of Springville, a former teacher and longtime craft beer brewer, will direct the brewing operation. The microbrewery will be brewing a variety of beers, from IPAs to stout, porter to pale ales. Besides feeding the Stillhouse of Buffalo’s taps, barrels will be bound for Buffalo bars as well. Bursee has already looked at canning his beers.
The restaurant/bar will feature a wood-fired and gas-fired pizza oven, Bursee said. It will also feature all fresh foods, including some favorite Buffalo foods including fish frys served with a slide of rye bread.
Bursee hopes to have the restaurant/bar open before the end of winter. “I’m shooting for February,” he said.
“I’ll be able to bring more business to Ellicottville,” said Bursee. “Once Buffalo knows one of their own has opened a bar/restaurant down here, they will come. We’ll have good, fresh bar food, locally sourced fresh foods.”
Bursee’s wife, Racquel, a BOCES teacher in the Pioneer District, has experimented with craft beer cupcakes, which should show up at the Stillhouse of Buffalo next summer.
Bursee is repurposing an old coffeemaker from the defunct Great Valley Youth Camp into a chiller for some of the darker craft beers that will be on tap at the ground floor bar.
There is a second bar on the second floor, which can also be used for receptions. There will be a balcony looking down on the stage for live music.
“We’re going to have a lot of different beers and try to keep it top quality,” Bursee said. “We want your experience here to be a great one.”
Bursee has been working alongside the owner and employees of Jenn-Co Construction of Springville. “I’ve done this my whole life,” he said of the construction.
Bursee said he plans to focus on the brewery and restaurant/bar first and wait to develop the distillery business.
He’s already got recipes for beer and spirits he can’t wait to try out with the craft brewing operation and distillery.
For more info, visit www.stillhouseevl.com.