Niagara Falls uses grant money to open The Craft Kitchen and Bar

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) —There’s no denying that Niagara Falls State Park is beautiful, but the city surrounding the natural wonder is sometimes lacking.The Cataract City has plans to try and bring the city back to life.

Niagara Falls State Park brings an estimated 30 million people to the Western New York region every single year. That’s a huge opportunity to make money in the surrounding city, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. To try and bring the visiting tourists outside of the park, Niagara Falls, in 2016, offered grant money to start up 3 new businesses. One of those businesses is coming to fruition Thursday.

Weston Hilts, front of the house manager at The Craft Kitchen and Bar, told News 4, “I like that grants are being used for local businesses because it does bring more money to The Falls and it brings people who wouldn’t typically come to The Falls down to The Falls.”

And bringing the people there is the first step to making the city better. Hilts is passionate about doing so after living in Western New York his whole life and in Niagara Falls for the past 6 years. He said, “I feel that being from here, being willing to put more time in to make sure it succeeds, is an important thing.”

Another important thing, helping out other local businesses in the process. Hilts said, “Right now, we have 19 New York State beers, 24 taps, and also local bourbons.” This includes Southern Tier Brewing Company beers, Hamburg Brewing Company beers, and Big Ditch selections.

Keeping things local doesn’t stop with the alcohol choices. Hilts said, “We are getting our food from Maple Vale which is a local company and our produce from Boulevard Produce which is local as well.”

The last effort to get more money into the city is a shuttle bus from area hotels to the new kitchen and bar. Hilts said, “Local businesses are mainly on the other side of Niagara St. We’re hoping to push people from that side, to come venture over on this side.”

For more information on The Craft Kitchen and Bar, including where you can find it, click here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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