Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oaks' Cafe and Ladies' Restaurant

Rushford Spectator,
September 26, 1895

Oaks' Cafe and Ladies' Restaurant

Location: 246 Main Street, Buffalo, New York, USA

Opened/Closed: 1890s

The Oaks' Cafe and Ladies' Restaurant was apparently one of those places that catered to the theater crowd, as it was just opposite "the burned Academy of Music." It's certainly nice to imagine two ladies enjoying a pleasant lunch here before trotting off to the afternoon matinee.
Academy of Music (1893)

The Academy of Music wasn't a concert hall as such, despite the name. It began its life in 1852 under the name of the Metropolitan Theater. The name was changed to the Academy of Music in 1868. In its heyday, it was known as "Buffalo's best theater" and played host to the "dramatic superstars" of the nineteenth century.

246 Main Street today

As the ad above alludes to, the Academy burned to the ground on September 1, 1895 after a fire started in a nearby variety store. According to an article in the New York Times, the fire also damaged a liquor store, a saloon, and a "fur and hat store."

Fortunately, the Oaks' Cafe and Ladies Restaurant was spared, but it no doubt saw a drop in patronage after the fire. Maybe that's why the advertisement that ran after the fire emphasizes that its "prices within the reach of all."

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