Mercado: One Sentence
A collaboration between leading local food artisans and chefs, the revolutionary food market Mercado will house over 15 dining destinations inside one centrally-located building - a breakthrough concept for Western New York.
Why Indiegogo: Two Sentences
A public market requires a large building and ample parking, so we need community support to secure a fantastic site close to the majority of our region's population. Our Kickstarter campaign was the second most successful in Buffalo's history, but we set our funding goal too high, and supporters asked us for a chance to get as close as possible - we're not giving up!
What They're Saying About Us
"Brilliant" - Nate Benson, WGRZ-TV
"Visionary" - Step Out Buffalo
"The game changer that the area needs" - Buffalo Vibe
The Mercado Story
Following three years of work on the pioneering Western NY restaurant site Buffalo Chow, Jeremy Horwitz spent the next three years researching ways to improve the local food scene, studying restaurants, markets, and chefs around the world. During his travels, he met Scott Kollig, a Clarence-born chef who trained at the Culinary Institute of America and several of the country's most famous restaurants. Working together, Jeremy and Scott developed a plan to bring Western NY something new and wonderful - a centrally-located artisanal food market and small restaurant incubator. Jeremy named it Mercado.
The concept behind Mercado originates in the artisanal food bazaars of Europe and Asia, where dozens of local vendors operate small, quality-focused restaurants under one roof. Half-restaurant and half-market, these bazaars enable guests to sample snacks from many different cuisines, sit down for a meal at one place, or take home ready-to-eat food. They're fun, exciting, and different every time you visit. Our favorite is the Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, Spain (shown above).
Major American cities have somewhat similar markets, though they tend to mix pre-made food items, raw produce, arts and crafts - few are laser-focused on fresh, ready-to-eat food. That's one way Western New York's Mercado will be different. Like the famous Union Market in Washington, D.C. (shown above), we're creating a place where people can have their choice of affordable, high-quality, and diverse casual dining experiences. And we're working with top chefs and artisans to make it happen, bringing fantastic local, national, and international cuisines to our area.
What Will Be Inside Mercado?
Mercado starts with new Spanish tapas, Chinese dim sum, and American brunch restaurants by Scott Kollig, who will bring home the skills he learned at the internationally famous minibar by José Andrés, WD-50, and Cafe Boulud. Local artisanal vendors will include Lloyd Taco Truck's long-awaited brick and mortar test kitchen, next-generation frozen treats by Lake Effect Ice Cream, 100% fresh Italian pasta by The Pasta Peddler, authentic Neapolitan pizza by Alan Bedenko, hot glazed snacks from The Bavarian Nut Company, and many more! We'll also host gourmet coffee, fresh fruit juice/soda, and cocktail destinations, plus a pastry shop by Chef Monica Amtower, formerly of The Inn at Little Washington and Cafe Boulud, an edible plant and flower shop, and other great experiences.
By design, Mercado will be affordable - our vendors are both quality-conscious and committed to offering options that everyone can enjoy. We love the idea of "small plate" dining (a meal with a little tapas, a salad, one taco, and some ice cream is great!), but we'll also have big plate options to choose from.
Who Supports Mercado?
Locally, Mercado has been featured on WGRZ-TV 2 and Time Warner Cable News, leading local restaurant review sites Buffalo Eats and Step Out Buffalo, and other local blogs. Mercado has also been profiled in newspapers including ArtVoice, Buffalo Business First, and the Buffalo News. We've been supported by top WNY chefs such as Chef Calvin H. College of the Culinary Institute of Niagara Falls and the American Culinary Federation of Buffalo, as well as the top artisanal providers above, and hundreds of Western New York-based backers. We appreciate all of your support!
Nationally, Mercado has been praised/supported by culinary superstars including Iron Chef Michael Symon (Lola/Lolita), Chefs José Andrés and Rick Billings (Think Food Group), Chef Katie Button (Cúrate), Chef Francisco Migoya (Hudson Chocolates), and RX Liquid Chef Rob Floyd (Library Bar LA). Our Kickstarter campaign also had the support of acclaimed Chef Kevin Sousa, creator of the most successful Kickstarter restaurant project in history (Superior Motors), and we've been backed by chefs such as Executive Chef Damian Evangelous of Worchester, MA's Armsby Abbey, who understand the power of artisanal food markets to elevate dining options for smaller cities.
Extra Details: Why Indiegogo?
In order to do something great for our community, we're taking on a project that's bigger than us: it's expensive to build a spacious market for leading food artisans and an incubator for chefs from across our region. Because of their large sizes, similar markets in major cities are often publicly owned. We have the vision, the plan, and the vendors lined up to make this market a reality for Western New York in December 2014/January 2015 - all we need is the community support and backing to fund its development.
Over 400 people backed Mercado's initial Kickstarter campaign, but we set our funding goal too high. Many of our supporters asked us for an extra opportunity to make Mercado happen for Western New York, so we're using Indiegogo, which offers greater funding flexibility. We raised nearly $90,000 on Kickstarter, but we set a lower goal this time so that we can guarantee that we move forward - we don't want to give up on this project. Thank you for your support, prior Kickstarter backers and new Indiegogo backers!
We are committing 100% of the community funds raised by this campaign to our single biggest challenge - securing a centrally-located space that is close to the majority of Western New York's population, and capable of operating morning, noon, and night during all four of our seasons. We have been working with developers and realtors to find a site with enough space, parking, and surrounding population to sustain a bustling artisanal food market. Leading contenders include Buffalo, Buffalo-adjacent Amherst, and Buffalo-adjacent Ken-Ton, with the Village of Williamsville as another possibility. Even if Mercado isn't in your personal back yard, our goal is to have it within 15-20 minutes of hundreds of thousands of people.
How Can I Learn More?
Visit our official web site at Mercadorevolution.com. Our founders are food and drink obsessives who are going above and beyond to deliver an incredible experience for Western New York. Jeremy and Scott were born and raised in this area, both with families here, and have made it their personal life goals to significantly improve the quality of everyone's local food and drink options. We're going to take everything we've learned in our travels and bring the best of those life-changing culinary experiences here.