What Makes Buffalo Special: An Open Letter to Our Herd


Several years ago, when a small group of visionaries, saw a little brown brick building that had great pizza available for breakfast, it became very clear to us that this place was special. The very idea of pizza for breakfast spoke to our rebel nature. We’ll admit, we weren’t sure if this little business that could thought of itself that way, or realized its own potential. But, we did. In a very big way. It wasn’t hard to see what this place had to offer. So, we decided to put our passion and idealism to the test.

It took several months of negotiation and many learning curves but, eventually we found ourselves at the helm of the mighty Buffalo Pizza and Ice Cream Company. A breed that was in danger of extinction.

Fast forward to today, and we find ourselves being fortunate enough to be owner operators of this Sacramento Icon, and once again seeing the potential in a small piece of this city, and to make Buffalo Pizza more than just a business.

But, how? How do you take a small food-based endeavor, and breathe new life into it? Improve its old purpose while helping it have a new one?

The Buffalo Team knew, that if we were going to make this work, the “New” Buffalo needed to be seen through the lens of social change. As partners in the community, we started with a question of whether or not we could turn around this local gem and nurture the Buffalo back to health, by redefining what the Buffalo Pizza and Ice Cream brand could mean to the community.

So, we gathered the team, and over an afternoon, decided that our long term goals needed to be based on the character values of being noble & playful, and our efforts should always focus on being hometown-centric. Then we set out to implement those brand characteristics in every aspect of the operation, from our employees to the community itself.

So, let’s start with the noble part of who we are.

One of the more noble aspects of the Buffalo brand promise, is that we offer living wage jobs to our employees, in real time out of a mom-and-pop sized shop!  Living wage is something very few larger corporate structures can say, as the tend to choose profits over people. We’ve even helped our employees with improving their living situations by establishing a co-operative type living structure, that attempts to create affordable housing. This allows for wages to go even further, and brings them closer to their workplace, thus helping to break the cycle of just barely getting by.

The Buffalo is playful. With fun contests and social media features like Friday Nite Flix, Pizza Trivia we are building our hometown pizza culture in the funnest way possible.  We wander up and down the streets of Sacramento always seeking opportunities to have fun. Always trying to connect with our Herd relevant and joyous ways.

The third and final piece of the Buffalo trifecta, requires us to exemplify the hometown aspect of our character. We do this by supporting local businesses and community organizations. As a result, we are a Farm-to-Face enterprise, working with local purveyors to provide our ingredients.  Regional companies like Vega Farms, Dragon Mushrooms, Del Rio Farms, Fully Belly, Capay Organic (nantes carrots), California Endive, River Dog Farms, and so much more continue to evolve what we make in-house from our vegan pizzas to our breakfast connoisseurs. Our goal is to circulate our dollars within 100-150 miles as much as possible.

Sure, this may mean that our pizzas cost a bit more than others in town, but the goodwill and support of those in our own Herd outweighs any financial gain we would make cutting corners. Something we refuse to do.

So, what does this all mean? Well, that’s the best part. Our idealism and community-centric brand, along with your support and belief in our character-focused mission, is working! When you, as a community, choose to support us with your hard-earned dollars, you are saying ”I see you. I support you, and I believe in your mission.”

Now, just 3 1/2 years later, our team and our NeighborHerd have more than quadrupled the business. We’ve added meaningful jobs, and deeply localized our supply chain. Working together we’ve proven that when the barrier between brand and customer is removed, social change is possible through commerce. The Buffalo team believes that businesses that wish to do good better can pursue passions, deliver joy, care about people, and thrive together.

We hope you will engage us with your ideas about how to improve the world through the nobility and playfulness in your own NeighborHerd. We hope to hear stories of neighbors in need, noble acts, playful events and people, and ideas coming together at the heart of it all.

Thanks to your support and the vision of our entire team, the Buffalo is healthy again, and it's grazing on and off Broadway and Freeport.  It roams the Central City delivering happiness one box at a time. It’s more than that wide eyed group of idealists could have ever possibly imagined.

The Buffalo Team
Chief Pizza Visionaries