Cheap eats: Sean Colins Irish Pub in Tonawanda does it right - The Buffalo News

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Cheap eats: Sean Colins Irish Pub in Tonawanda does it right

The former home of Eddie’s Spaghetti House on Sheridan Drive next to Praxair has housed, in the last few years, Double D’s Queen City Grill, an Irish-themed bar called the Snug, and a place called Fire Tower Bar and Grill. We visited both the Queen City Grill and Fire Tower, and although we were sorry to see them go, we have high hopes for the new occupant of the building, an Irish-themed pub called Sean Colins.

The structure of the interior hasn’t changed from its previous incarnations. There is the same long, shiny bar in the front room and a dining room in the back, furnished with comfortable booths and tables.

The menu, which, unlike the decor, lacks Irish touches, offers 11 sandwiches, ranging in price from the grilled cheese ($3.99) to the Buffalo chicken finger sandwich ($6.99). Notice that top price? This spot is definitely gentle on the wallet, with only one item over $10. That is a Slammer Burger, made with two 14-ounce burgers stacked with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and bacon, for $12.99. Anyone who finishes this sizable sandwich in 30 minutes gets a free T-shirt and will see their name on the Wall of Fame in the bar.

Several people were relaxing at the bar on the Saturday afternoon when John, Pat, John and I stopped by for dinner. Although they were tragically out of both the sweet potato fries and the onion rings, we found plenty to like on the menu.

We started with the house specialty chili ($4.99), described as “homemade blazin’ chili.” It comes with a warning that it is “not for the weak-hearted.” Our interest in spicy foods varies, but we asked for one bowl and four spoons. The shallow bowl of chili, rich with onions, peppers, beans and ground beef in a deep red tomato base, was sprinkled with two kinds of grated cheese and flanked by crackers. Tentatively, we portioned out small tastes. The first flavors were deep with meat and tomato, not fiery or tastebud-searing. Then the heat bloomed, and all but the most tentative enjoyed it.

The beef on weck ($6.99) was a half-pound of tender, long-simmered, delicious beef piled on a fresh kummelweck roll, with a dipping cup of au jus on the side. It got high marks, evoking memories of neighborhood taverns’ delicious sandwiches.

The 14-ounce burger, weighing close to a pound and served for the pleasantly surprising price of $6.99, was a thick, hand-formed patty. It was cooked medium-well, as ordered, and remained juicy in the middle. Toppings, ranging from crumbled blue cheese to jalapeños or a fried egg, are 50 cents each. We topped this burger with bacon, and the strips that covered it were thick and crispy.

The sandwich and burger were served with rippled potato chips, and we added a totally unnecessary basket of hand-cut french fries ($3.99). They were perfect, crisp on the outside, steamy and tender on the inside.

The chicken finger platter ($6.75) had six medium-sized, thick fillets of breaded chicken breast. They can be made hot, medium, mild or barbecue, and for a change, we got them barbecued. They were succulent, juicy inside and not greasy, with a flavorful coating of slightly sticky barbecue sauce.

The star of the table was the fish fry, a bargain at $8.99. The cook had covered the entire sizable plate with portions of coleslaw, macaroni salad and sizzling french fries, then perched a slab of beer-battered fresh haddock on top. It was exceptional.

I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad meal in this building, no matter what the name of the business, but Sean Colins tops them all. Here’s hoping for a long, successful run here.


Sean Colin’s Irish Pub

Where: 1051 Sheridan Drive, Tonawanda (877-7326)

4 pennies

Great food and prices

Hours: The kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday during football season.

Wheelchair-accessible: Four steps lead to the bar and dining area.


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