The city of Buffalo lost another business recently with the closing of the original Italian Village Restaurant on Grant Street. While many are familiar with the Italian Village suburban location on Wehrle & Union, the Grant Street restaurant was the original. It was one of the few destinations that could draw suburbanites to the West Side.
John & Fifa Balconi purchased the building on Grant Street in 1975. They remodelled it themselves & started the restaurant there in 1978, while living in an apartment above the business & raising two children. The whole family worked at the restaurant. Their daughter Domenica, who now owns Amici Restaurant in Kenmore, was so small when she began helping the family business that she needed a platform to reach the counter. This was the quintessential American business.
The Italian Village Restaurant on Grant Street served generations of customers from all walks of life. At closing, the walls are filled with photos, momentos & handwritten messages from the many people for whom having dinner at the Italian Village was like a family meal at home. I remember my grandfather, who lived in West Seneca, taking me to Italian Village for heaping plates of homemade pasta & crunchy, creamy cannilis. And, that was long before I ever knew the Balconi family or became involved in the restaurant business.
The owner, John said "It breaks my heart to close". But, in a city that is losing population & with so many obsticles to small businesses, he has no choice. "Thank you to the neighborhood & all of the people who have come here. I will miss them. And, sometimes I'm still tempted to re-open. But I just can't afford to."
While the original Grant Street Italian Village Restaurant has closed, the traditions & recipes live on at their newer suburban location. Click Here for information &am Click Here For The Rest.