In 2006, Liz Moore was living in New York and not particularly enjoying her corporate job. A Penn State grad with a degree in psychology — and no formal culinary training — she began laying the groundwork for what would become Bluebird Kitchen, a popular lunch spot just off Market Square.
And earlier this month, more than 18 months after the original "fine dining on the go" concept launched, Moore opened a second Bluebird location Downtown, on Stanwix Street.
Though the menu has been tweaked — only the new location offers a grilled-cheese sandwich, for instance — diners can find many of the same scratch-made pastries, fresh sandwiches and inventive sides as at the original location. (Both locations serve breakfast as well.)
The new spot has plenty of seating, and because it's located on the ground floor of the First Niagara building, Moore says it has a captive audience of about 2,000 workers who can help smooth out the off-season at the original location.
"Because we don't have a lot of seating [at the Market Square location]," Moore says, "our sales are really dependent on the weather."
Still, Moore is adapting to a clientele that is often as hungry for "a monstrous 12-inch sub" as it is for a grilled cheese ($7.75) with 5 Spoke Welsh cheddar and truffled mornay on brioche. "People perceive us as being a more expensive place to eat," she says, "but we're a really good value."