Riddle: What had wings but couldn’t fly?
That would have to be two Anchor Bar franchises in Rochester. The East Avenue branch closed not long ago, ending three years of trying to keep up with the name above the door.
Suffice it to say that the Rochester versions never quite captured the taste and ambience of the Buffalo original. How close it got is a matter of subjective consideration.
Now, the other Anchor Sports Bar and Grill, located in The Marketplace mall in Henrietta, has closed. It hung on for a bit after its East Avenue cousin, but now it, too, has fallen into the crowded dustbin of unsustainable bars and restaurants.
The Rochester Anchor Bar started with a lot of promise in 2009. The East Avenue place was to be a franchise of the famous Buffalo bar, where the Buffalo chicken wing, legend has it, was born back when the world was new.
The question was, of course: could the Rochester Anchor truly serve the Buffalo delicacy? The answer was yes, but only for a while. Things started to unravel between franchisor and franchisee and the Anchor Bar became the Anchor Sports Bar and Grill, to distinguish it from the Buffalo original.
Adding three words was a subtraction in this case.
It turns out you can take the Anchor Bar out of Buffalo, but the wings won’t go along without a struggle.
What will take the place of the Marketplace’s location? Good question, and even better, we seem to have an answer.
Taking Anchor’s 6,522-square-foot spot at the mall, across from The Melting Pot restaurant — both have outside entrances — will be Papaya Asian Kitchen & Bar, which is an Asian contemporary or fusion place specializing in steak and seafood. It has, according to Marketplace officials, an exotic martini menu.
There is a Papaya already, located in Buffalo, a relationship we won’t dwell on other than to suggest that martini recipes may be easier to import than chicken wings.
Papaya will renovate the space and open later this year or early in 2013. It will be open for lunch, dinner and will have a late-night menu.