The success of the Buffalo Chophouse, Laughlin's and his other downtown restaurant holdings has prompted Mark Croce to move forward with his latest central business district eatery.
Armed with approval from the Buffalo Planning Board, Croce said he wants to take a vacant building at 284 Franklin Street - and located just in front of the Buffalo Chophouse - and expand it into his latest downtown restaurant venture.
The restaurant's name and theme are being kept under wraps, but Croce said he'd like to see it open next year.
"It will be different in a few months than what it is today," Croce said of the building. "It is designed to complement, not compete with the Chophouse."
Plans call for adding a cantilevered patio deck, that with strategically placed heaters, could be used during longer periods than just the warm weather months. Depending on its final design, the building could be expanded to as large as 7,000-square-feet including the patio.
When it opens, the restaurant will be the latest addition on that downtown street, including Osteria 166 on Franklin Street just behind the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que that's due to open in early 2014, also on Franklin Street.
More, Croce said, is better.
"This is driven by the 11-year successful track record of the Chophouse and partially driven by the buzz being created by the Dinosaur," Croce said. "With everything that is happening in downtown and all the growth we are seeing, there is more than enough room for another restaurant and probably more."
In giving away one hint about the restaurant's theme and projected demographics, Croce said he expects it to be more casual than the Buffalo Chophouse.
"You can certainly come in there wearing a suit, but you can also come in wearing jeans and a shirt, too," he said.