100 Acres: Delivering its farm-to-customer promise in new ways
Picnic meals can be enjoyed on the Richardson Olmsted grounds.
ICECREAM AND PICNIC PHOTOS BY EASE FOR EYES, NICOLE A. BUNDY
Located in Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center
444 Forest Ave., Buffalo
Since spring, restaurants have continually adapted to new models. When 100 Acres morphed to provide curbside pick-up and delivery, Hotel Henry owner/partner Diana Principe says that, “It was more an organic occurrence, an immediate visceral reaction to the surreal news that our industry would have to close to in-person dining.” It was also a way to maintain jobs for at least a few employees. For the owners, as well as 100 Acres chef Mike Thill and kitchen manager Eric Granville, it became an opportunity to create new and attractive options. Several years ago, South Side Pick Up was a part of the plan for 100 Acres, but fundamentally designed as a gift card sales program. The restaurant’s marketing team repurposed that into a fully functional e-commerce platform for orders and launched a touchless curbside pickup model.
“So much of what we did, prior to COVID-19, was centered around welcoming the community into a National Historic Landmark and inviting them to explore spaces that were dormant for years,” Principe says. The property hosts thousands of guests for its seasonal markets and hundreds of guests for brunch and dinner every weekend, but now it serves our community in “a different, equally vital way,” she says. What remains is a passion for connecting with patrons and transforming local, selectively sourced, high-quality ingredients into creative dishes.
From the beginning, the owners strived to adapt South Side Pick Up to what Buffalo needs right now, starting with dinner from their kitchens minus the contact, as well as access to the same high-quality staples in their pantry, and seasonal ingredients from preferred farmers and producers. “The resulting 100 Acres pantry offerings, CSA boxes, and picnic and BBQ boxes are a continuation of those commitments to the community,” Principe says. “Our guests have taken the picnic and BBQ boxes in directions we never imagined, using them for celebrations at home, as gifts for family, or even as gifts for employees.”
An array of menu items are available Thursday through Sunday, and all meals come with a homemade sourdough loaf, spring vegetable salad, and a sweet bite from the bakery. The Roasted Erba Verde Chicken meal features fingerling potatoes, labneh, za’atar, and mint. A vegetarian meal option includes hummus, falafel, rutabaga tzatziki, flatbread, olives, and raw and pickled vegetables (2/$30 or 4/$55). Shareable sides include Oles Farm kale Caesar salad, hummus and za’atar bread, smoked fingerling potato salad, roasted cabbage with Calabrian chili butter, and creamy Farmer Ground polenta (all $13).
Tempting desserts include doughnuts ($4/each or $20/half dozen assorted), ice cream sandwiches ($24 for four), chocolate chip sea salt cookies ($15 for eight), ice cream or sorbet ($7/pint), and more. You can grab house blend cold brew ($6/quart) to enjoy during the warm weather.
“The South Lawn is a beautiful pastural area with enough space to spread out and create an instant picnic,” Principe says. Try the rosé spritz kit, including a bottle of sparkling Brut Rosé, Aperol, fresh grapefruit juice, and fresh mint to make six to seven cocktails ($30). A mimosa kit ($25) and Bloody Mary kit ($42) are also available, as are beer and wine.
The South Side Pick Up brunch includes favorites like avocado toast ($11) and croque madame ($12), but, better yet, go for the kit to make your own breakfast sandwiches: eight slices of maple bacon, four fresh biscuits, and twelve Meadowcreek eggs ($30). A trendy but solid choice is the fried chicken basket, featuring a half Oles Farm chicken (four pieces), local honey, two biscuits, and maple hot sauce (serves two, $35). A cinnamon bun for two ($11) completes this indulgence; it’s the epitome of warm, gooey comfort food.
Perhaps most ingenious is the chance for patrons to stock their pantries and refrigerators with quality goods. Ithaca Milk and Pittsford Farm Cream dairy, Ground flour, eggs, bread, butter, coffee, and olive oil are offered for grocery store prices. CSA boxes packed with produce from area farms are also available and feature Oles Farm, Weiss Farm, Plato Dale Farm, and other locally grown vegetables and herbs.
“The very name 100 Acres is a proud nod to the original acreage and agricultural use of the Frederick Olmsted-inspired grounds, so our affinity for hyper-local food is deeply rooted,” Principe says. “Each menu item begins with one central ingredient, often locally sourced or freshly harvested from a partnered farm or our onsite kitchen garden, which is under the care of horticulturist John Santomieri. While chef Mike’s stewardship of the 100 Acres concept results in an ever-evolving menu, it’s his focus on local agriculture and sustainable sourcing that has cultivated strong relationships with local farmers, enabling us to bring their bounty to more people.”