Restaurants come, restaurants go….

Interior, Compass Run restaurant, Buffalo, NY

For the last couple of years we’d heard great things about a new-ish restaurant in Buffalo called Compass Run. We finally went there a few months ago and loved it and made mental notes to get back. Last night we did…but the impetus for last night’s reservation was that Compass Run announced its closing a few weeks ago. They’re only open a few more weeks, I think.


Compass Run had a Southern-inspired, seafood-heavy menu that featured quite a few celiac-friendly selections. From what I’ve read, the restaurant is closing because the owners, who already run a successful restaurant in Buffalo called Toutant, have a young family and are likely finding the degree of work needed to run two restaurants more than is compatible with that family life. What’s interesting to me is that the site occupied by Compass Run was another restaurant by the same folks, called Dobutsu. We never made it to Dobutsu, but this is something I’ve noticed from afar over the years: people own a restaurant, and they run it for a while with a certain menu, and then they close it, remake the inside, come up with a new menu (or “concept”, in restaurant lingo), and then re-open under a new name. I often wonder if the reworking comes out of an attempt to find a more lucrative concept, or out of culinary ennui, or some combination thereof.

Restaurants open and close regularly; it’s the nature of the business. Only a few manage to stick around for years, and even those will often do so if they find new owners and chefs who are willing to carry on the tradition. Compass Run is closing, but it has a good chance of staying a restaurant–at least, that location stands a good chance. The owners have indicated that their plan is to convert the location into a leasable, turn-key restaurant, so they’ll still have a stake in the ongoing development of that particular part of town. If there is a new restaurant there soon, I hope it’s good and celiac-friendly!

Here’s some of the food we ate there. Alas!

Kentucky Waterfall cocktail. A modified Manhattan, basically.

The Captain’s Platter

Appetizer: Pork belly burnt ends.

Smash burger!


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