Two weeks ago, Michael Schafer debuted a Burgers, Fries and Drinks restaurant called Buffalo Fire Department across the street from his other restaurant, The Depot. On Monday, the Buffalo native explained his approach. “It’s an adult burger restaurant,” says Schafer, “a full service burger restaurant that serves high quality burgers, cocktails and wines.”
When asked to explain what separates his burgers from the competition’s, Schafer said, “It’s the quality of the meat, the freshness, and we bake all our buns here.” Schafer is so determined to keep his burger recipe a “proprietary secret” that he had his butcher sign a non disclosure agreement. However, he did concede that the meat is all-beef. Schafer calls his fries “seasoned, crispy and hot.”
At Buffalo Fire Department, you’ll find 22 different burgers, including a Bleu Cheese and Portobello Burger ($13), a Cheeseburger with Thai BBQ and Wasabi Sauce ($12), Slim’s Famous Speed Burger with Four Cheeses and Triple Bacon ($18) and the signature BFD Burger with Buffalo Chicken, Blue Cheese and Fried Onions ($15).
You’ll also find “Other Stuff” like a Garlic Shrimp Burger with Wasabi Scallion Sauce ($16) and a Seared Ahi Steak Sandwich with Depot Chee and Ginger Sauce. Since this is a Buffalo-themed restaurant, you’ll find Buffalo Fire Wings, sold by the dozen and spiced to mild, medium, hot or “suicide” levels.
“Some restaurants have cheaper whiskey or vodka,” says Schafer. “Our well is premium. We don’t have anything that’s not premium liquor. Our wines are all Californian. Our beers are all micro-brewed American beers.”
For dessert, expect Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake and fresh-baked apple-cranberry, pecan and pumpkin pies. There’s even a root beer float.
For the design, Schafer transformed the former Mediterranean restaurant into an “open, airy space” that’s conducive for business lunches, but also serves the locals. He said, “The neighborhood needed something more affordable, but where you can still go and get full service and have quality.”