The latest change in the Suwanee restaurant scene also may be symbolic of what it takes to survive in the competitive industry, at least locally.
Buffalo's Cafe officially opened for business Friday (December 28) in the former Diggers site. (It's at 991 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, at Moore Road). The same ownership continues -- brothers Paul and Flay Dalrymple -- and one owner made it clear recently that it's not just that signature menu item (wings) that is behind the shift.
Paul Dalrymple also owns the Hamilton Mill location of Buffalo's Cafe, and so he knows the business benefits of being part of a chain.
"For a small, independent company, it's very difficult to compete, and very time consuming," Paul Dalrymple said in Suwanee on the first full day of operation as Buffalo's Cafe. "You can't be competitive as an independent operator."
Dalrymple cited such factors as marketing, purchasing and menu development as pluses to being part of a chain. Buffalo's Cafe is owned by the parent company of the successful Southern California Fatburger chain.
There's fresh evidence of this in Suwanee. Olde Towne Tavern & Grille closed in a bankruptcy proceeding on December 20; it was independently operated. Also, Moondance Lounge is admittedly on the ropes, and Cafe Gourmandises also closed recently.
Dalrymple said the price of commodities, such as corn, are "way too high -- a lot of it is based on the decisions of the federal government."
Because of feed costs to farmers, "The price of chicken wings is at an all-time high."
This could be noted in this reporter's menu sampling. The price of the Taster wings menu item was reasonable -- $7 for six wings. But the portion sizes were not overwhelming, undoubtedly a move to keep the price competitive.
The remainder of the Buffalo's menu offers several items that are common to casual dining eateries. There also are specially priced lunch items and "kids eat free" night.
Dalrymple also hopes to expand the Buffalo's brand elsewhere in the Southeast. "Our goal is to be a big fish in a small pond," he said.
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