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Heard on the Street: New bar's a different animal for downtown Rochester

A new addition to the herd of downtown bars is a whole different animal.Bar Buffaloopened its doors at 20 Historic Third St. SW this week to start serving a special cocktail menu as well as a full selection of food, including a vegan...

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A new addition to the herd of downtown bars is a whole different animal.

Bar Buffaloopened its doors at 20 Historic Third St. SW this week to start serving a special cocktail menu with a focus on gin and vodka as well as a full selection of food, including a vegan menu.

"I think our take on upscale drinks and food are the different twist that Rochester has been looking for," said co-owner Steve Lee. Lee owns Bar Buffalo with Chris Fierst.

The pair also own the nearby Half Barrel Bar and Kitchenand the Barrel House Liquorsstore in northwest Rochester.

While customers will be greeted by a massive buffalo head on the wall and there’s a savory bison burger on the menu, Bar Buffalo also has a large selection of vegan choices.

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Popular Rochester chef Jessica Irhkehas a created unique vegan offerings, such as seasoned Jack Fruit tacos, a "Beyond Burger," vegan tube steaks and crabless crab cakes.

Of course, there’s also plenty for omnivores beyond the signature buffalo burger. Lee says the Peri-Peri Wings are already a hit with customers.

To wash down the grub, the bar offers 12 beer taps and a wide selection of craft cocktails with a special focus on gin and vodka.

"Our drinks are exceptional. We took a lot of time getting them just right," said Lee.

Bar Buffalo, which is located in the former home of the Exquisite Leather and Luggage boutique, can seat up to 70 people and has six employees on staff.

With the addition of Bar Buffalo, the Historic Third Street block now has four bars with a fifth, Bitter & Pour , gearing up to open by mid-November.

"We’re right in the middle of everything," Lee said.

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