BUFFALO, N.Y. — 2 On Your Side is celebrating Western New York with the grand opening of a new coffee house and lunch spot in downtown Buffalo that's been a long time coming.
After having to pause because of COVID-19, School Grounds restaurant is now open, and it's more than a restaurant - it's a high school.
"We are excited to bring you our new restaurant, School Grounds," said Principal Katie Schuta.
We stopped by minutes before the doors opened for customers Tuesday morning.
"We offer a variety of different options, and we also have a coffee bar," explained Schuta.
The idea for the Buffalo School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, which runs School Grounds, came out of a need. The demand for the Emerson School of Hospitality was so high, the school district decided to open another hospitality high school, and with that came plans for another downtown restaurant.
"Students who come and went to Emerson, they were so successful," Schuta said. "They always had an 85-percent graduation rate, and we wanted to duplicate that and give more students an opportunity to not only leave high school with a diploma, but also some real life skills that can be transferable into any job."
"I'm a part of the front of the house, and that is the coffee bar," says student Arianna Colon. "The coffee bar is amazing. I've never seen any machines like that, so learning all of the skills of how to use them, it's crazy, like, it's a lot of coffee stuff."
Students learn problem solving skills, how to work as a team, how to work with the public, and staff and manage the restaurant.
Ryan Dowell plans on going into restaurant or hotel management.
"It's much more than just culinary, we could also apply it everywhere we go," Dowell said. "We offer, we have like a wide range of majors, like sports management, marketing, stuff like that, and so we could really come to this school, learn anything, and kind of go anywhere with it."
"I learned how to work with people, get me good team building, just working with students, and now working with adults, and just different race and cultures," said Asia Beard-Booze, a 2021 graduate. "So it makes it very easy to work with people knowing that I work in a school where you have to work with your classmates because you all go to that school."
So far, they're getting great reviews.
"This is very healthy and fresh. I guess the theme here is really about health, so I would say come on down, it's a great spot," says customer and BPS teacher Roseanne Cullis-Santiago who ate lunch at School Grounds on Tuesday.
School Grounds Coffee House at 75 West Huron is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. through August 13.