“The village is now open!”
Thus proclaimed a Nickel Creek Cafe bar patron after Jason Pominville scored the first goal of the Sabres regular season.
It took us a second to make the connection, but we did with a chuckle.
When it comes to watching the Bills and Sabres, Nickel Creek Cafe gets it. Long before the puck dropped the young lad tending bar tuned all the TVs and sound to the game.
And in writing this we are conflicted. Is it a sports bar with cheap food? A Cheap Eats with great bar specials? Both?
All we can say is we really enjoyed the food, drink and vibe.
We also liked the quirkiness of the decor. There are beer steins above the bar and fire/police patches on display from local and out of town departments.
On a wall by one of two dart boards is a framed mosaic of really good black and white cartoons drawn on napkins and register tapes, all done by a former employee who sketched customers, coworkers and famous/infamous folks in his spare time. Apparently the kid just graduated from animation school. Neat.
Patrons cracked us up, like the dude who showed up in a Philadelphia Flyers jersey. Why? A guy in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey had us stumped until we remembered the Patriots were playing the Bucs on Thursday Night Football. (The guy gets credit for putting the hate on.)
What we liked most were Nickel Creek’s uncomplicated food and drinks. (We can’t handle deep thinking on a mundane Thursday.) There are no craft cocktails or ultra-hip craft beers. NCC serves the basics. Southern Tier Brewing’s Pumpking and Ellicottville Brewing’s EBC Blueberry ($5) are about as exotic as it gets.
The menu is budget-friendly, too. Bar Bites (boneless wings, beef on weck sliders, buffalo chicken quesadilla, and mozzarella or pretzel sticks) are $4.99 during games.
Burgers start at $8.99, sandwiches at $7.50 and come with homemade chips. Salads and entrees hover between $8 to $14. Entrees come with soup or salad, a vegetable and choice of potato or brown rice. Friday adds seafood like beer-battered or broiled haddock ($11.99).
We went for the good (bad) stuff: a single order of medium wings ($9.99), taco flatbread special ($7.99) and personal cheese and pepperoni pizza ($7.99).
The crispy wings were more mild than medium, but still meaty and delicious. We’d get them hot next time. The big flatbread was loaded with toppings (ground beef, lettuce and tomato) and the personal pizza had a thick crust with lots of melted cheese.
The grand total for three Coors Light drafts, an Absolut and tea, two Ellicottville Brewing Company Blueberry drafts plus the food came to a whopping $49.45. What more could we want for a Thursday night?
And no matter what our hometown teams may be doing on the field or ice, we predict Nickel Creek Cafe patrons will have a winning season if they make the trip to West Seneca from whatever village they hail from.
Nickel Creek Café
4717 Clinton St., West Seneca, 656-1112)
Hours: noon to midnight Sunday through Thursday and noon to 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Scene: Clean, comfortable neighborhood bar.
Happy Hour: 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday with half-priced glasses of wine, 2-for 1 domestic drafts, $1 off Captain Morgan rum drinks and $3 Absolut vodka drinks.
Cheap beer: $2 Coors Light drafts.
Bills/Sabres deals: Domestic buckets five for $13, $2 pints, $3 house wines and well drinks.
More: Monday 60-cent wings; Tuesday ladies night, 2-for-1 drinks and sub of the day $5.99; Wednesday humongous taco day (beef, chicken, steak, $5.99-$7.99); Thursday wrap and burger of the day $5.99.
Gluten-free options: Gluten-free pizza.
Parking: Large lot.