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Conventus Cafe to open May 15 on Medical Campus

By Karen Robinson, Reporter
The Buffalo News
May 4, 2017

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus will sport a new eatery May 15, when a grab-and-go cafe opens inside the Conventus medical office and research building at Main and High streets.

The 1,200-square-foot Conventus Cafe will seat up to 24 people and will be located in the building’s lobby.

“We’re creating a very comfortable place for our tenants to relax and enjoy a meal,” said Robert McDonnell, senior vice president of Ciminelli Real Estate Corp., which developed Conventus and manages the building.

Ciminelli has leased cafe operations to Queen City Foods, a Lackawanna mobile catering company. For now, the cafe will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Ciminelli’s announcement of the cafe is part of a move toward upscale grab-and-go cafes in new buildings on the Medical Campus, rather than full cafeterias formerly popular in medical facilities. Kaleida Health earlier this week said it plans to open a grab-and-go cafe and a Tim Hortons coffee shop inside the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital when it opens in November instead of a cafeteria.

The Conventus Cafe is expected to be a magnet not only for tenants inside the seven-story Conventus building, but also doctors, nurses, patients and visitors on the campus. The building will be connected to the University at Buffalo’s new medical school, opening later this year, and the Oishei hospital. The medical school will have a small bistro, as well.

“We’re giving our current tenants and other users on the Medical Campus a very good option for breakfast, lunch and dinner – which is really going to be a nice thing for the campus,”  McDonnell said. “As the campus gets more and more populated, this could grow or expand.”

Ciminelli officials said the cafe will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, including sandwiches, bagels and muffins, as well as entrees that could include macaroni and cheese, lasagna and meatloaf. Artisan sandwiches, pitas, wraps and salads also will be sold, and Blasdell Pizza will make daily deliveries.

Queen City Foods – which provides quick meals to construction workers, businesses and factories – has stand-alone food kiosks at the Buffalo Medical Group in Amherst and McGuire Development Co. on Michigan Avenue. The Conventus venue will be its largest.

“I’m very, very excited to provide service to the tenants at the Medical Campus. It’s such a thriving area,” Queen City Foods owner Vincent P. DeMarco said Thursday.

Ciminelli expects nearly 1,000 people to work inside the building at 1001 Main St. once it is full. Kaleida Health and UBMD Physician’s Group are still moving operations into the building.

As the campus continues to grow, Ciminelli is closely eyeing potential for other retail and food options. Beyond the cafe, another 15,000 square feet is available on Conventus’ first floor.

“Within the next 12 months, we’ll have a very good idea of what the tenants want, and what the demand is, and how we’ll proceed going forward,” McDonnell said.

Conventus first opened in June 2015. On its first floor is KeyBank, the cafe, a management office, a pedestrian gallery, security and more space for retail. In addition to Kaleida Health and UBMD Physician’s Group, tenants include Athenex pharmaceutical company and Albany Molecular Research Inc.