A community hangout that started
out as a grocery and saloon, Ulrich’s
acquired its name when it was owned
by Michael Ulrich from 1905 to 1946, a
time when it was a popular gathering
spot for both the local German
community and area politicians.
Following the advent of prohibition
in 1920, the downstairs was converted
to a delicatessen and restaurant while a
speakeasy was operated on the second
floor. In 1955, the business was bought
by the Daley family, and it continued
for decades as a lunch spot and tavern,
as it remains today.
When current owner, Salvatore
G. Buscaglia, purchased it in 2013, the
decor and fixtures had changed little
since the nineteenth century. But he
saw that there was still work to be
done to restore it to something closer
to its original condition, so he closed for
six months of renovation.
In addition to keeping longstanding
historic details such as the original
painted tin ceiling and the 1910-era bar
and stained glass, Buscaglia added 1875
oil lamps converted to electric light and
hand-painted patterned walls designed
in the style of the late 1800s, as well
as custom tables—which he personally
crafted—in the bar area.
Buscaglia notes that the community
has been very supportive of the
changes and, above all, are happy he
kept the business intact as a bar and
restaurant, an outcome that seemed
far from certain when the property was
up for sale and located in a busy and
developing area where parking is at a
“The community was really thrilled
and supportive that we were keeping it
Ulrich’s,” he recalls.
Manager Rachelle Toledo credits
longtime loyal customers—among
other factors—for Ulrich’s longevity.
“We have a really strong group of
regulars here. People walk in the door
and we know them by name,” Toledo
says, adding that some customers are
even third-generation regulars. She says
that the growth of the medical campus
has helped them prosper, making for
busy lunches and happy hours.
Moving forward, Buscaglia says he
plans to grow the business in a way
that further caters to the local lunch
crowd. He would like to offer more of
a deli/coffee shop component with a
quick sandwich option and may close
briefly for renovations again in the
future in order to make that a reality.
Buscaglia and Toledo are both
looking forward to the eventual bump
in business once renovations are
underway at another classic Buffalo
landmark that is located right down the
block: the Trico building.
B Y JESSICA KELTZ