Future looking bright for former synagogue transforming into destination called ‘The Monocle’


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Another old building is getting a facelift in Buffalo. Later this year, you’ll be able to shop, eat, drink and get your hair cut inside a former synagogue on Hertel Avenue.

Local business owners, David Brugh and Michael Poczkalski are renovating the space and will call it ‘The Monocle.’ The name came from David’s love of Old English culture and their three English bulldogs.

“One of the things that we kept coming across was these great old vintage bulldogs, wearing a little monocle and a top hat,” Brugh said.

The two own several businesses in North Buffalo and are moving all of them into this one space. They opened ‘Room’ together 15 years ago, which is a luxury furniture boutique. They’ll move Room into The Monocle, along with Michael P. Design, an interior design firm, and David’s barbershop, Crockett and Co.

And they’ll open up a new café inside as well, called Mr. Potts.

“Potts actually goes after a nickname from our family name since Poczkalski is so long; my grandparents always referred to it as Potts,” Poczkalski said.

The space will include unique areas to hang out in, like a library and an area with an array of apothecary items. David and Michael hope people will be drawn there after a year of isolation during this pandemic.

“I think people are craving experiences again… social interaction, face-to-face,” Brugh said. “I know that my barbershop is so successful because we actually get those 30 minutes with those people in our chair to have that conversation.”

The former synagogue is an open space now; not much was left behind inside. The two will make it their own and plan on opening in November 2021, ahead of the holiday shopping season.

“We’re able to put our footprint on it… our stamp… and change it into something we think is going to be beautiful and fantastic for the neighborhood,” Poczkalski said.

The Monocle will be located at 1235 Hertel Avenue.

Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.

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