Mammoser’s Tavern & Restaurant is almost as much a Hamburg institution as the burger itself. Family legend has it that my grandfather used to light a firecracker and leave it in an ashtray, fleeing before bedlam broke loose.
Today, there are no ashtrays on the bar and more craft taps behind it, but not much else has changed. “Mammy’s” has earned a spot in Hamburg lore for a reason, and that reason is on the plate.
Locals know Mammoser’s wings are some of the best around, with signature sauce available by the jar, gallon and case. The wings are drier than most, with not a drop of grease in sight. Their “hot” is, as our waitress put it, hotter than most but survivable. A single order ($11) comes with 10 wings, and on Saturdays, buy a double order ($20.75) and get a single free.
For those who believe wings without beer is like peanut butter without jelly, they'll find a hearty selection of local taps. On the day we visited, Mammoser’s released its own house IPA, brewed in conjunction with CB Craft Brewers. The MT&R Fore Play IPA is a malty, approachably mild IPA that pairs well with both skates and drums.
Most of the appetizer menu is fried, so if you’re craving crunch, try the clam strips ($4.95 or $8.95) or popcorn shrimp ($6.95). You won’t be able to eat just one. The stuffed banana peppers ($8.25) taste like Antone’s, with just enough heat to keep you refilling your glass.
On the dinner side, Mammy’s beef on weck ($8.25) features meat cooked to order, an unusual approach to the Buffalo classic. I like my beef still mooing, and the tender meat didn’t need au jus to moisten it back to life like many others. The extensive sandwich menu features all the standards, as well as a few throwbacks like limburger cheese ($8.95) and cube steak ($6.95).
The Tuscan Joe ($8.95) comes with a juicy grilled chicken breast, Asiago cheese and roasted red peppers on a crusty roll. Foghorn Joe ($8.25) features their signature wing sauce, if you didn’t get enough in the appetizer round.
While its famous fish fry and seafood dinners are limited to Fridays and Saturdays, a fish sandwich ($6.95, or $8.95 with fries and coleslaw) and fish tacos (two for $6.50) will satisfy a sea craving any day.
Buffalo restaurants are having a taco moment, and Mammoser’s is no exception. Its version comes with fried haddock atop griddled flour tortillas, garnished with cubes of pineapple, red pepper and coleslaw. The result tastes like a fish fry rolled in a tortilla, and that’s not a criticism.
Mammoser’s sits on the corner of busy Buffalo and Main streets, so grab a plate of wings, a couple of those IPAs and watch the world go by. This cozy tavern has seen Hamburg change plenty during its time on that corner. It’s comforting sometimes to see a spot where not much has. For that, Mammoser’s will outlast us all.
Mammoser’s Tavern & Restaurant
16 South Buffalo St., Hamburg (648-1390)
Open: 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Wheelchair-accessible: No, except patio
Gluten-free options: Yes