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A Place to call home

South Campus staple Amy’s Place holds deeper story than cheap breakfast

Asst. Arts Editor

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Friday, December 7, 2012 12:12

amys

Lisa de la Torre /// The Spectrum

Amanda Amico, left, and Jenny Wilson work together at local diner Amy's Place, where they consider the staff to be their second family.

According to Wilson, who also occasionally sings for the Stamplickers, the band started in the back room of Amy’s Place.

Employees have dubbed this room “The Clubhouse” and it is more than a typical break room. The walls are covered in pictures of employees from throughout the years and a drum kit sits in the corner surrounded by amps and other musical tools. It is in this room that the Stamplickers practice and even perform during various staff parties and events throughout the year.

At these occasions, other employees are invited to perform with their own musical groups.

“My idea was to showcase [the employees’ music] because there’s so many other people that are in bands here, too,” said restaurant co-owner and Stamplickers member Greg Kempf, 42. “[When we play here,] it’s like, ‘Oh, let’s close down for the day and have a party.’ We have all the Amy’s Place people play and their bands play. [The Stamplickers’ members] are not in it for the money.”

Of course, true to Amy’s Place fashion, the Stamplickers put the wellbeing of others – strangers, friends and family – at the top of their list of priorities. The band has played numerous benefits and even held their own benefits of sorts.

When one of the employees’ friends was involved in an accident rendering her paralyzed from the waist down, the Stamplickers held a benefit at Neitzsche’s to raise money and show support for their beloved friend.

At the celebration for the restaurant’s 30-year anniversary, the employees collected money and donated the proceeds to St. Luke’s Mission.

No matter the circumstance, the employees at Amy’s Place are dedicated to one another. Yet, while many regular customers adore the restaurant for this reason, some customers feel less of the warmth than others.

“The service is decent. I feel like some of the waitresses could be friendlier to the customers, because sometimes they kind of seem like they would rather be doing something else,” said Larry Valdivisio, a senior communication major.

Wilson understands the complaint, but she swears the behavior in question is unintentional. She attributes the employees’ misunderstood behavior to their hectic workload and genuine desire to simply hang out with one another.

“We’re really just really busy; all of us have like 10 jobs to do all at one time … and while we’re running past each other, we want to know how each other is doing,” Wilson said. “We never intentionally [exclude customers]. And people probably do get that vibe, but it’s just because we are so in love with each other and are doing so many things that we just want to catch up with each other.”

The restaurant may be small, but the impact that Amy’s Place has left on customers and employees alike is undeniably large.

Because of its vegan- and vegetarian-friendly menu, the restaurant is often praised by patrons for being one of the only diners of its kind in the Buffalo area. Students who live in the Heights frequent the diner because of its convenient location and its respectable execution of hangover-proof meals.

According to Wilson, the “ScramAmBacSam,” or scrambled eggs with American cheese and bacon on a bagel, is a huge hit with college students.

Amico, however, claims that Amy’s Place has impacted her life on a deeper scale than simply providing a fun place to work and socialize.

“[Amy’s Place is] my second home,” Amico said, the playful expression on her face suddenly replaced by one much more somber.

“Personally, I started working here at a really bad time of life. And I have to say in ways this place has saved me. It’s been my sanctuary. I couldn’t live without these guys and the family that is here ... This place means the world to me.”

By placing an emphasis on support, love and community, the Amy’s Place employees prove their portions don’t need to be large to be served family style.

 

Email: arts@ubspectrum.com

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