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Center Street celebrates 10 years of bringing a little bit of the South to Batavia

Wednesday, Dec. 7, Center Street Smoke House will celebrate 10 years in business.

To commemorate the occasion, co-owner Cregg Paul is planning a special menu at 1940s era prices -- draft beer for 50 cents and BBQ ribs, for example, at $3.41.

"Not a lot of places that have survived 10 years," Paul noted. "I've seen a number in Batavia come and go, come and go, come and go, so to be around for the 10 year mark is quite an accomplishment."

In 2000, Paul, his brother Scott and friend Tommy Freeman bought at auction a building on Center Street from the City of Batavia that was in a serious state of disrepair.

"It was one of the few free standing buildings that hadn't been torn down by urban renewal or anything else," Paul said, explaining the trio's interest in the location. "It was a great spot, great history, and it needed to be saved. It was about to cave in when we got it."

The renovation to the 1930s-era structure was total.  Workers spent nine months just removing everything from the interior, then contractors installed new wiring, pluming and heating and air, not to mention building a speciality kitchen for southern BBQ.

The group of friends realized their dream of owning and operating a southern BBQ in the heart of Western New York on Dec. 7 when Center Street opened its doors for the first time.

"Ten years ago when we were thinking about it, we realized there wasn’t really any kind of southern food around anywhere," Paul said. "There was nothing here. Rochester was limited. Buffalo was limited.  We always loved going down south and the food was the best part about going down south, so we thought we would bring that back up here."

The celebration started Wednesday at 4 p.m. and runs until 8 p.m.  Besides BBQ beef ribs, the menu will include at $3.41 each, mac & cheese, meat loaf, chicken and biscuit, with hamburgers going for 75 cents and cheeseburgers for 95 cents.

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