Buford’s Kitchen bringing southern accent to ‘Street’ development

A heaping helping of Southern style is about to join the culinary landscape at Street at the Meadows.

Buford’s Kitchen plans to open Thursday at 100 Adios Drive, in a mixed-use project that, when completed, will be anchored by luxury apartments. Southern cuisine and hospitality will predominate, adding to the diverse dining opportunities already available there, downhill from The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.

Locally iconic Primanti Bros. and Markook Authentic Mediterranean Eats are already operating at The Street, in close proximity to where Buford’s is prepping for launch. Yet neither of the existing eateries offers a dynamic that the new rival emphasizes.

“We feel we’ll have a breakfast niche,” said Michelle Shelly, one of four managing partners. Buford’s will serve breakfast all day, and the business day will be generally 16 hours long – 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

But lunch and dinner will be part of the equation as well.

Selections will include Po Boy sandwiches, a Louisiana specialty featuring meat or fried seafood in a French bread baguette, Pancakes, omelettes, burgers and salads are on the menu as well, along with standard milkshakes and those with alcohol.

The Southern influence, at first blush, seems inexplicable in that Shelly and her partners with MTM Restaurant Group – Mike McMullen, Greg McFarlane and Jordan Eback – are Pittsburghers who grew up in the Keystone State. They gave birth to the Buford’s concept and continue to nurture it.

It is a group that is well-versed in raising restaurants. Their dining brood also features Toscana Brick Oven in Southpointe II; Andora in Sewickley, Fox Chapel and Cranberry; and Pan in Lawrenceville. And they plan a rooftop venue in Pittsburgh, Terrace on Fifth.

McMullen, the principal partner, is the source behind the theme at Buford’s. He lived and worked in New Orleans for a few years. He favored the flavor of the food there, and had his group sample it.

“We hit 18 restaurants in 2 1/2 days in New Orleans,” Shelly said. “We literally ordered, ate, paid the check and went to another restaurant.”

The name comes from McMullen, too.

“Mac had a dog named Buford,” McFarlane said. “It has a nice Southern twang to it and seemed to fit.”

This Buford’s should be fetching as well. It will be on the far end of the project, near the racino, with 3,500 square feet and seating for 120 inside and 40 on the patio. Pat Stoll will manage a team of about 50.

Cafe lighting will illuminate a decor with an exposed wood and brick accent. The name is etched artistically into one wall, and the tables are whitewashed wood.

Many who hear the name may deduce that Buford’s is a chain, probably a Southern chain. In reality, it is purely Pittsburgh. There are two other locations, in Pittsburgh, across from Consol Energy Center, and in Moon Township. Both are in converted restaurant spaces, where the Blue Line Grille operated downtown and where Ground Round functioned for years in Moon, across from the main entrance to Robert Morris University.

“We plan to add another three by the end of 2017,” Shelly said.

The Street location, of course, is in the new construction category, and will have a different configuration. Although it will be the third Buford’s to open, it was the first to secure a lease.

Buford’s was supposed to debut in Moon, but ended up launching in Pittsburgh in October, near the beginning of the Penguins’ season.

“The intent was to open (near Consol) after the hockey season began, but (construction) delays at Moon caused us to move that up,” said Eback, who also is the corporate chef at the Street location.

The management group is pleased to be there, and so is the landlord. Horizon Properties Group, developer of the Street project and lead developer at Southpointe II, recruited Buford’s for Adios Drive. Horizon is pleased with what has transpired at Toscana, six miles to the north.

“After the great success of their Toscana Brick Oven concept at Southpointe Town Center, we did invite (the group) to bring a restaurant to Street at the Meadows,” Mike Swisher, principal at Horizon, said in an email. “We think the Cajun-style Buford’s Kitchen that has (gotten a) fantastic reception at their other locations will be a hit … adding a new flair to the area.”

A Southern flair, via Pittsburgh.