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Believe in Buffalo: Jack's Corner Cafe brings coffee success from Puerto Rico to downtown Buffalo

Jacks Corner Cafe
Posted at 2:38 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 17:47:17-04

BUFFALO (WKBW) — There is a new cozy coffee shop tucked away at the corner of Genesee and Oak in Downtown Buffalo and the story behind Jack's Corner Cafe is as interesting as the name.

"Jack is our two-year-old", says Leah Alles, the owner of Jack's Corner Cafe. "He consumed our life for so long, being born six weeks into the pandemic, that it only felt it appropriate to name it after him."

Jack of Jack's Corner Cafe
Jack's Corner Cafe is named after the son of owners Leah Alles and Joseph Diaz Aleman.

It turns out that Jack is not only the cafe's namesake, but also a big reason why Jack's Corner Cafe exists.

Jack was born in Puerto Rico, where Leah and her husband Joseph Diaz Aleman, a native of San Juan, first met. The couple operated their first cafe, Rising Roost, on an island right off the coast.

Rising Roost
Picture of Rising Roost. A cafe opened by Leah Alles in Puerto Rico. Alles returned to Buffalo with her husband to open Jack's Corner Cafe.

"It was on an island called Vieques which is seven miles off the coast of main island Puerto Rico", says Alles. It was an open air cafe, with indoor seating, outdoor seating and a lounge. It was so much fun,"

But then the challenges came. First Hurricane Maria in 2017, then the Pandemic. So the couple decided to bring their new family back to Leah's hometown of Buffalo and Jack's Corner Cafe was born.

"We knew we wanted to keep doing what we loved doing while we were in Puerto Rico. Since Buffalo was home it kind of made sense after we were here a few months that we wanted to plant roots here".

Jack's Corner Cafe Food
The R&R Bowl is one of the popular items on the menu at Jack's Corner Cafe.

Jack's Corner Cafe still highlights many of the staples from the couples former shop. The menu also has a variety of familiar breakfast and lunch options. The R&R bowl is one of the more popular offerings which includes rice and beans, fresh avocado, homemade pico de gallo, a friend egg, tortilla shells and Manchego cheese.

Joseph is in charge of the coffee and uses Gustos Coffee from Puerto Rico in his celebrated espresso drinks.

Jack's Coffee
Jack's Corner Cafe offers espresso drinks using coffee from Puerto Rico

Leah, Joseph and Jack opened the cafe in February and are looking to add a comfortable space for coffee lovers in the growing downtown community.

"I would love for this to be somewhere where people who live downtown can come and relax, or work on work. Something that drives the downtown community", says Alles. "Honestly this is an ideal job. We can provide coffee in a safe comfortable space to hang out in but also do what we love. If I can do this forever I will."

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