Entrepreneur Steven Butler initially caught the culinary bug thanks to his mother Nette’s passion for cooking, and the restaurant business. But it was Butler’s godfather and founder of Ike and BG’s Restaurant, Ike Gray, who gave him his first shot in the industry when he was 14 years old. The decision to bring the hard working lad into the fold proved to be a fateful one, as Butler would ultimately go on to purchase the Genesee Street restaurant in 2017.
Now, upwards of 5 years later, Butler is taking the barbecue and soul food restaurant to the next level. He’s doing this by further building upon the successes of the Genesee Street location, while opening a second location on Niagara Street near the corner of Franklin Street, steps from Buffalo City Hall.
This past Wednesday, Mayor Byron W. Brown, Legislator Howard Johnson and Council President Darius Pridgen, joined Butler at a ribbon cutting for the new BBQ and soul food restaurant. In attendance were the restaurant’s founders, Ike and Betty Gray.
Ribbon cutting: At the West Side Ike and BG’s (56 Niagara Street), there is indoor seating, patio seating, and new menu items that include fried catfish dinners, fried lobster, and lobster mac and cheese. Source: Ahrie Photography
There’s only one way… the Ike & BG’s Way
It was at the ribbon cutting that Butler announced East Side plans to break ground on a multi-use development project in April 2022. The $4 million project will encompass eight vacant lots between Colorado and Montana Streets – the lots adjoin the current Ike and Bg’s location at 1646 Genesee Street. The plan includes a dining space, a banquet hall, three commercial retail units, 12 two-bedroom apartments, and a parking lot. While this project is underway, Ike and Bg’s will only operate out of the new downtown location.
“I congratulate Steven Butler for not only carrying on the culinary traditions of his godparents, Ike and Betty Gray, who founded Ike & BG’s on Genesee Street in 1998, but by now bringing their great BBQ and soul food menu to downtown Buffalo,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said. “I’m also pleased my administration is working with Steven to achieve his dream of completely rebuilding the original Ike & BG’s, as part of a $4 million mixed-use project, which will include housing and retail on six vacant, City-owned lots, and to give a great boost to that east side neighborhood.”
“Ike and BG’s is excited to have a presence in the heart of downtown Buffalo,” said Butler. “There are plenty of great restaurants downtown, but there is only one Ike and BG’s. We look forward to gaining some new customers. For years I have imagined how and where to expand. Buffalo is my home, and Genesee Street is Ike and Bg’s neighborhood. We intend to grow even more in Buffalo. After today we will be working attentively on Ike and BG’s Restaurant’s huge rebuild in our eastside neighborhood.”
“Ike and BG’s has served the 1st Legislative District for over 23 years, and its impact on the WNY community is far-reaching,” said Erie County Legislator Howard Johnson. “Residents travel from all parts of Buffalo for this wonderful culinary experience. The new rebuild in 2022 will be a big win for the community. This is much needed in the district as there is a shortage of affordable housing and dine-in-style restaurants. This will add value to our community.”