Friday, October 11, 2013

Great City Coffee

In this pursuit, we have a coffee club at the office.  We order whole beans from various source and have them delivered to the office.  We grind the beans and make a pot of good coffee, usually once a day.  When we run out of beans, we have to make due with what we have around us until a new shipment arrives.  With our office right in the heart of downtown Buffalo, we don't have too many options - the best being the Buffalo Coffey Roastery in the Main Place Mall (I'll be featuring the Roastery in a piece here next week).

Recently, though, I heard that a new coffee place opened up in the newly renovated Hotel Lafayette.  First, let me say how impressed I am with what Rocco Termini has done with this spectacular, historical property.  He and his team have restored it to its glory.  It features several restaurants & bars, shops, a botique hotel, apartments and more.  So when I heard that Great City Coffee opened up a block from our office, I knew we'd have to check it out when we ran out of beans.  This week, we did just that.

Here's the exterior of the restored Hotel Lafayette:

It was a gorgeous day as we walked down the sidewalk to the door:

This is the sign that greets you as you enter the building:

Great City Coffee is located at the bar in the lobby of the Hotel Lafayette.  I was told by one of the banquet directors last year that the bar in the lobby was originally designed to be a full-service bar.  However, with the bar in the Pan American Grill & Bar, the bourbon bar across from Mike A.'s at the Hotel Lafayette, and the bar downstairs in Sweet & Savory, the property ran into problems because they had too many per New York State Liquor Authority regulations.  They've now set up the coffee bar for Great City Coffee at the end of the bar in the lobby.

Here's a look at the setup:

This is the menu:

As you can, the drip coffee prices are quite high.  What they charge for a 12 oz. cup of drip coffee is what most Starbucks charge for a 16 oz. cup.  However, the prices for espresso and related beverages are great values.

My colleague and I both opted for a 12 oz. cup of dark roasted drip coffee.  We were told that while they get their coffee supplies locally from McCullough Coffee, the beans are from the pride of Northern Italy -- Illy.  The espresso is also made with Illy beans.  Illy makes killer espresso, however the drip coffee left something to be desired.  This is the cup I received:

While it looks good, it wasn't quite as good as it looks.  It wasn't roasted dark enough for my taste, although some would prefer it lighter.  However, when I order coffee that proclaims itself as "Dark Roast", I want dark, bold flavor.  The coffee was quite acidic, which isn't always a bad thing.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much flavor to balance the acidity.  That said, it was still a decent cup of coffee.  The fact that it is so close to my office gives us another viable option for quick coffee.  Now that I know how well priced the espresso is, I'm headed back there for that.  However, for drip coffee quality, variety and price, I'm headed back to the Buffalo Coffee Roastery.

As for my rating on, I had to "like" Great City Coffee.  The Urbanspoon scale does not let you rate the restaurants/bars/etc., but merely like or dislike it.  Therefore, if the scale is just barely tipped one side, you have to go in that direction.  So for this one, even though I didn't love the place, the scale was decidedly tipped in the "like" direction.

Stay tuned for the details on the Buffalo Coffee Roastery next week!


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