Buffalo Brothers

Garner & Wake Forest, NC


Type of Building/Use:

Family Sports Bar and Restaurant

Size of Restaurant

7,493 Sq. Ft.


Mathew Boyd and Matty Gray of Buffalo Brothers


Garner and Wake Forest, North Carolina

Project Timeline

June-2012 –December 2012

Architecture Team & Design Plan Process

Goals: The client wanted to purchase, expand and renovate the existing building to create a strong brand image for the company that was representational of repurposed industrial buildings native to owners’ Buffalo, New York hometown area. This project represented the first Owner-occupied restaurant for Buffalo Brothers.

Design Considerations:  The building was previously a family style restaurant.  Olive Architecture developed several new elements to create a distinctive space for Buffalo Brothers.  These elements include:

  1. Opened the large interior areas and created a central U-shaped bar in the center of the two story space featuring 40 different beers on tap.
  1. Added Indoor–Outdoor dining area using roll-up garage doors, and tall windows giving the space a two story presence on the street also providing shaded, dog-friendly dining space with ceiling fans and large-scale TVs for three-season outdoor dining. During extreme temperatures, the area affords central heat and air conditioning. This space also can be leased for special events since it is separated from the main seating areas.
  1. Added Mezzanine seating using industrial steel railing construction representational of Buffalo’s steel manufacturing heritage. The Mezzanine emphasizes the vertical space allowing diners an exclusive view that overlooks the central bar while looking into the red glowing eyes of a full-scale buffalo standing atop the center island of the bar—also an icon of the city of Buffalo.
  1. Branded the restaurant using the deep-red color iconic to the Buffalo Brothers (BB) brand on the exterior of the building and the custom signage. Olive Architecture designed the sign as a vertical and illuminated element reminiscent of the Buffalo Theater movie marque in downtown Buffalo, New York.

Key Results:

  1. Developed a new image and architectural statement for the company incorporating previously developed graphic identity.
  1. Accommodated owners goal to own their own brick and mortar building to meet company’s financial and equity strategy.
  1. Provided Wake Forest with a family-oriented sports bar meeting the growing demographic trends and needs of the north Wake County market.

User details:

As a Design Build project, Andy O. Lawrence, the principal architect—also served as the general contractor through the NC general contracting company Fountainhead Design & Build, LLC. This was in keeping with the concept of architect as the Master Builder.

Services: Architecture, Interior Design, Project Management, Budgeting, and General Contracting.


  1. West Key Consulting, Mechanical & Electrical Engineering
  2. Collins Structural Consulting
  3. United Restaurant Equipment Company

Client Testimonial: Buffalo Brothers

Our first project with Olive Architecture was 7 years ago at our Capital Boulevard location.  New non-smoking laws were coming up which was met with some anxiety for owners of a restaurant and bar operation.  We commissioned Andy Lawrence to design a patio structure as a smoking area for our patrons.  Olive designed a patio with an overhang and other attributes that integrated quite well with the look and feel of our existing building.  We were impressed with the outcome.

Given that first experience with Olive, we sought them out again in 2010. We had purchased a building that needed to be renovated and converted to convey the “look and feel” of our brand.  Olive Architecture worked with us on the design and renovation of what is now Buffalo Brothers’ Lake Boone location.

In 2013, we turned to Olive Architecture for a third architecture and design project.  We purchased a building in Wake Forest that was to be completely gutted.  We wanted a restaurant that embodied the history of Buffalo, New York—our hometown.  We invited Andy Lawrence to Buffalo for a weekend to tour and share important pieces of Buffalo’s history.  The outcome–Andy and the Olive team developed a design that creatively embodies the “look and feel” of a repurposed industrial building, like an old factory turned restaurant typically found in Buffalo.  Olive spent a lot of time working with us to design a space that really defines our brand. Our new Garner location incorporates Olive’s design work that features a brick exterior with large open interior of exposed lintels, joists and beams, with a mezzanine overlooking the interior bar.

We are impressed with Andy and the Olive team’s ability to recognize our needs and requirements while also creatively synthesizing all these inputs into an architectural design solution that is functional.

The Olive team are all very good to work with—like Matt and Martin—who have a passion for what they do.  In terms of responsiveness and consistency, I am able to call and communicate with any one of them and have a similar experience of getting the right answers to my questions.  That’s key to keeping a project’s momentum when there are so many moving parts.

With projects involving multiple parties—architects, owners, contractors, etc., there’s got to be a symphony of work.  The team at Olive excels at orchestrating all the moving parts to keep the project on track—whether it involves a piece of restaurant equipment, furniture, lighting—a wall that doesn’t work.  Olive works with you to get all the parties to work together.

We recently completed and opened our Garner Buffalo Brothers site.  Our intention is to continue to build on our success.  The Garner location has been well-received.  We are looking for other locations in the Triangle to build the Buffalo Brothers brand and footprint.  Olive’s architecture and design work has contributed much to our success.  We certainly will work with Andy and the Olive team on our future projects—and recommend them to other bar and restaurant owners.

Matt Boyd, co-owner of Buffalo Brothers

Read Buffalo Brother’s Spotlight Article on Triangle Business Journal

Buffalo Brothers