On this episode of Food 411, travel with me as I visit the Grange Community Kitchen in Hamburg NY. Watch the episode here (roughly 8 minutes into the show), and read more about their story below.
The Grange Building or the Salisbury Building, has a history that dates back to the late 1800’s. Originally built in 1892, it was owned by John H. Salisbury, a dealer of farm implements and leader of the Erie County Agricultural Society. It became the Hamburg Grange in 1913, after the National Grange of the order of patrons of Husbandry formed to help farmers who’s livelihoods were devastated by the Civil War.
Husbandry meetings were held on the third floor while the first two floors were occupied by William H. Froehley, a businessman who owned and operated both a furniture store and undertaking business. I can just imagine, T model Fords driving down the cobbled dirt roads as farmers walked in and out of the beautiful art deco style building, past hand carved furniture, tipping their hats as they say hi to its owner Mr. Froehley. Making their way up to the third floor, where a fraternity of gentlemen took their seats to discuss the business of the day, focusing on agriculture and politics. Major accomplishments credited to Grange advocacy include passage of the Granger Laws and the establishment of rural free mail delivery.
Fast forward to present day, and the building became vacant of the hustle and bustle of the post war era only to be scooped up by Tina’s in the 1980’s. Once Tina’s moved in, it forever became known as the white architectural building that housed good food.
The grand facade of the Grange building offers more than just a quick glimpse. Look closely and you will notice engaging squat Romanesque columns, fleur-de lis motifs, and cornices supported by decorative Italian brackets. The new owners–Brad and Caryn Rowell, bought the Grange last year, and have brought the historic icon back to its origins, filled with clean foods, fresh ingredients, and beautiful simple décor.
“This place ties together our neighborhood as a community gathering place,” says Caryn, (sounds a little like the order of the husbandry, only for the whole community, doesn’t it?). Brad adds, “Our goal is to create seasonally driven menus – highlighting my passion for quality and the use of local ingredients. Our hope is to bring a fresh new dining experience to the village that still ties in Hamburg’s history.”
What many may not know is that Brad and Caryn are from the Hamburg area. “Caryn and I both grew up in the Town of Hamburg, we currently live in the Village of Hamburg, and we feel this location will be perfect and fitting for our first restaurant. Our goal is for the Grange to become a longstanding community hub within the Village of Hamburg,” he states.