By Judith G. Fales
Have you ever visited a cat café? Did you even know that we have a cat café in Buffalo called Buckminster’s Cat Café (named after the owner’s cat)? After completing a PhD in art history, Molly Hutton curated art exhibitions and wrote about art before moving to Buffalo with her husband and son. When her son began college, Molly knew she wanted a change. Her brother, who was living in Hong Kong, suggested opening a cat café, as they have become very popular in Asia.
Having never been a business or restaurant owner, Molly knew she had a lot to learn. She found the perfect location, and began renovations. Molly wanted to use locally-roasted coffee, so she met with Jesse Crouse, owner of Buffalo’s Tipico Coffee and Café. Both Crouse and Tipico’s former manager Sadie Mathers, most recently of Foibles Coffee and Pie, helped Molly learn about the management and food aspects of the business. She also received help from UB’s Blackstone LaunchPad, which helps entrepreneurs develop the necessary skills to become successful, and consulted with Buffalo State University’s Small Business Development Center. A partnership with Second Chance Sheltering Network made it possible to find good-natured adoptable kittens and cats of all ages.
Visitors to Buckminster’s Cat Café will find a peaceful and uplifting environment that offers wonderful healthy food choices, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. A particular menu favorite is the cheddar and fig jam panini. Diners can enjoy craft beer, fine wines, locally roasted Tipico coffee, lavender lemonade, and calico mochas (light and dark chocolate and caramel). “I came up with my menu by thinking about what I like to eat and drink,” says Molly.
Then, of course, there are the cats. Separated from the eating area by a glass wall, you will find about 6 to 9 cats at any given time. It is best to make an online reservation to spend time with the felines. Molly does accept walk-ins without a reservation if there is space; however, she limits the number of people to prevent the cats from becoming overwhelmed. There is a small fee to reserve time in the cat room, where people can read, eat, or simply play with the cats. Many visitors go on to adopt cats. All adoption fees go directly to Second Chance. Molly encourages adopters to take two cats, either siblings or bonded pairs who have become friends.
Molly is proud of the café, and says, “We’re trying to create a pleasant space for people looking to spend time with cats, but who also desire an appealing café environment.” Since opening Buckminster’s Cat Café, 716 cats have been adopted. How fitting that 716 happens to be our local area code! Having the opportunity to meet Molly and visit the café was a wonderful experience. It also took all of my self-control to resist coming home with another cat.
Buckminster’s Cat Café is located at 577 Niagara Street in Buffalo. Learn more about café hours, menu options, cat merchandise, reservations, and adoptions at www.buckminsterscatcafe.com, or call 716-436-6000.