Expo Market toasted their official grand opening this week with a stimulating soiree. Belly dancers swirled their hips, then DJ LoPro provided the beats as we gnawed custom pasta from Mercato. The verdant taste of seaweed exploded on my tongue as I bit into a Sun Roll; Michael di Santo and Fredtown Stompers kept the party bouncing noon until night.
The party, titled EXPOSITION, began at noon and lasted until 12 a.m, as stated on the official invitation. This meant practically a day-long extravaganza in the vein of 24-hour Berlin nightclubs. “It’s an afternoon to celebrate and to revel into the night – or maybe just on our lunch break,” marveled one guest, sipping a Technicolor smoothie from Crush Juicery. GBGB’s bartenders shook up New Hawaiians and Bonita Appletinis while business suits mingled with sweatshirts along the bar.
Expo is the brainchild of investors at Sinatra & Company Real Estate. They teamed with local restauranteurs and innovators to produce an answer to our growing interest in food and beverage culture – a thriving downtown marketplace. Osteria 166’s Nick Pitillo opened Mercato; Gypsy Parlor’s Gabby Mattina opened GBGB; Sun’s Kevin and Stephanie Lin opened Sun Roll; and Paul Tsouflidis opened a Newbury St. outpost as well as Crush Juicery.
Low-key tables are scattered throughout the space, which combines industrial lighting and exposed brick with murals done by Casey Millbrand, the artist and architectural designer who came up with the name “Expo.” He created four huge murals which showcase, in different ways, Buffalo’s growth over time.
The first mural depicts what the corner of Grant and Amherst St. looked like “back in the day.” Then, around the corner, viewers get an up-close-and-personal view of what that intersection looks like now. My favorite mural was of a parasol-wielding woman arm-in-arm with her Pan-American beau, walking through a majestic rainbow spectrum into the future.
“I want to teach people about our past through my artwork,” Millbrand said. “I wanted it to be blown up and out-of-scale so you feel like you’re walking through the City of Buffalo.”
The chicken curry Mega Sun Roll was especially delectable when paired with a Hot Beerarita from GBGB. Eat it like a burrito! Now that the sun finally shines on Buffalo, New York, there’s never an excuse to stay cooped up in the cubicle come lunch hour. The only predicament that remains is, how to avoid overindulging on mezcal while on the clock?