A look at the people behind the numbers in area business.
Henry Buffalo, St. Paul grill
Title: General manager
Henry Buffalo, the new general manager at the St. Paul Grill, enjoys welcoming regulars, newcomers and now larger groups to the landmark downtown restaurant.
The outgoing Buffalo said he likes interacting with guests and employees and prefers to circulate through the restaurant during busy times rather than do paperwork in his office.
Buffalo’s arrival coincided with a freshening of the dining room, which included replacing some booth seating with tables and chairs. The new layout accommodates larger social and business gatherings and offers better views of the Grill’s garden and nearby Rice Park.
“It makes us more accessible to group dining,” Buffalo said. “We have more space for groups of 20 or 30 or 40. It helps us push forward to a new era but keeps the brand intact.”
The work also included refinishing wood floors and inlaid carpets. Buffalo said diners can expect few changes to the menu, which features steaks, chops, fresh fish and other seafood, or the Grill’s signature bar.
Buffalo has worked in restaurants since he began busing tables as a high school student in Duluth. His 15 years in the industry includes most recently working as general manager of the reopened Figlio in St. Louis Park.
He previously was manager and wine director at the Capital Grille in Minneapolis, general manager at Il Vesco Vino in St. Paul and general manager at Osteria I Nonni in Lilydale.
The St. Paul Grill, which opened in 1990, is adjacent to the historic St. Paul Hotel and is managed by Morrissey Hospitality Companies.
Q: What has motivated you to pursue a career in restaurant management?
A: It’s not easy and not many people can do it. You’ve got to have the mentality and, of course, support from your family. But I enjoy being out in the action, when it’s busy. I love talking to people and taking care of people.
Q: What sort of group business are you seeing now?
A: It’s a mix of social [gatherings], weddings and business. We do a lot of business with the companies around here. And we’ve already done many same-sex marriage celebrations at the Grill, which is great.
Q: What are your goals as general manager of the Grill?
A: My goal is to help build the business and build the brand. We have some different programs — scotch dinners, cigar dinners — where we have a five-course dinner and then go over to Rice Park and smoke cigars. Implementing those is going to help build the business. Group dining will, too. They’ll have a great experience so then they’ll come back again on their own.