Delaware Ave. Deflowered: Amaryllis Closes

About two weeks ago I heard that Amaryllis was closing. On Saturday December 27, 2008 I received a text message and a Facebook update  informing me that the “Amaryllis Is Closing” party was THAT night. It was shutting its doors for good.

In the last two years, this West side subterranean bistro hosted in the cellar of The Westbrook, evolved into a casual locale of creature comforts for a melange of souls.  Chef and owner Jen Stainrook produced delectable meals one after another. The food was simply delish! I will miss the hangar steak accompanied with perfectly seasoned shoestring fried potatoes. Yum!

On Wednesday nights Jazzline performed mellow jazz melodies in the alcove beside the bar. The setup even provided enough space for a couple or two to get their “groove on” if so inclined. Amaryllis was the ideal spot for a romantic dinner, first date dinner, business dinner or a solitary bar-side supper. Kristie, the savvy and swanky tapster mixed the libations with grace and occasionally a slightly heavy hand. She always presented your cocktail with a smile and a follow-up glass of soda or water whether you asked or not. She would never allow you to get sloppy drunk, just drunk enough.

I arrived Saturday night around 7:30pm to say goodbye to Kristie and the “regulars”. Jazzline was not performing. Kathy and Andy, who also played occasionally provided a medley of jazz and pop tunes gratis as a parting gift. At Amaryllis we were more than friends. We had become a family. When I entered the restaurant the place was packed with other family members, snapping cell-phone photos, exchanging phone numbers and email addresses, hugging, toasting and buying each other drinks. Kristie even purchased a guestbook for everyone to put their contact info into. The finality gave rise to a state of despair among the clientele.  “What are we going to do now?” “Where are we going to go?” “Is the owner of the building an idiot?” “Who can afford to lease space and have customers at that price?” 

It was a bitter-sweet affair. The band wrapped up their equipment and Jen Stainrook emerged from the kitchen to be with her people. Cheers, whistles and applause filled the room. If you know Jen then you know she is kind and humble. The crowd quieted. Jen, still dressed in her chef’s coat, said very simply, “I just want to say thank you.” No Jen, we want to thank you.




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2 Comments

  1. My only experiance with this restaurant was to have made the mistake of purchasing a $50. gift certificate on December 10th 2008 for some friends. I prefer to be a cash customer so I am unable to resort to my credit card to have them “stop payment” I refuse to believe that on 12/10/08 they did not know they were going to close on 12/27. They seemed to have no problem taking my cash and giving me a gift certificate that isn’t worth the paper that its printed on. Needless to say, I was quite embarresed to learn that we had given some dear friends a bogus christmas gift. Anyway, We have called and left messages without the owners even giving us the courtesy of a return call. Obviously, when you consider this entire senerio, you must realize that these owners have no integrity and Buffalo is better off without them. Certainly not the type of people I would ever trust again.

  2. My eyes are misting as I read Sharon’s blog. Salon Amaryllis was the only place to bring together the rich diversity of Western New York (black, white, Asian, Hispanic, native American; gay, straight, bi-curious; Christian, Jew, Muslim; working class, middle class, urban and suburban professionals, entrepreneurs, millionaires) to enjoy fine dining, spirit, jazz, dancing and enlightened conversation. Jen is a genius to staff her Salon with people who met no strangers. We are all lucky to have such a treasure in our community. We look forward to her future endeavors. Much Love.


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