When they tell you to get stuffed at Peter K's, the command won't start a bar brawl. The neighborhood hangout has been in business since 1987 and gained fame for its stuffed potato pancakes.
On a recent Saturday, my husband, Dan, and I wanted to unwind after a particularly hectic week. We both wanted to watch the NHL playoffs, drown our sorrows about the Sabres sitting on the sidelines and shake off the stress of our world. Since I didn't feel like cooking or getting dressed up, we opted for a few drinks at Peter K's, a true neighborhood favorite located across from Cheektowaga Town Park.
The front door leads to the bar; a separate entrance takes you into the dining room. We were welcomed by manager Kelly, working alongside Missy, who was clearly pregnant but didn't miss a step as she efficiently served Dan a gin and tonic, his cocktail of choice. Enjoying a generous pour from Missy, I savored the full flavor of the merlot that I had eagerly anticipated. Feeling a little tipsy from the wine on an empty stomach, Dan and I passed on the 35-cent wings and ordered two stuffed potato pancakes, the signature culinary creation at Peter K's. Spinach, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese were enveloped in my homemade potato pancake; Dan's was stuffed, southwestern-style, with chicken, cheese, peppers and onions.
While enjoying the hearty meal, we ordered another round and took in the ambience. Plenty of entertainment is available, ranging from darts and trivia games to TVs showing baseball games and whatever sport happens to be in season. That's a good thing if you like chicken wings. Kelly told us she offers the fowl appendages for a mere 35 cents a wing whenever a game is on.
And if there is no game?
"I'll find a game," Kelly said with a chuckle. "Or I'll bring out a deck of cards."
While the mirrored bar is the room's focal point, the barroom is fun to look at. Adorned with a Polish flag, Bills signs, Sabres pennants, family photos and NASCAR schedules, the walls are the definition of eclectic decor.
As the crowd grew, Kelly mentioned to us that a decidedly non-Polish liqueur on tap has become the most popular drink at the establishment. "We refer to the ice-cold shots of Jagermeister as the 'house dressing,' " she said.
Cherry Bombs, made with Red Bull and vodka, are another popular shot selection; a bomb can be had for a buck every Wednesday and Saturday.
After just a short while, Dan and I felt like regulars. We chatted with Steven, who relocated here three years ago from Las Vegas. Tipping a bottle of Bud, Steven said he frequents Peter K's at least three times a week.
"It's a nice local place that welcomed me immediately," he recalled, adding that a 50th birthday party was held for him here. "What a great place to party and hang."
No argument from us.
2709 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga 893-9229 .
Scene: Friendly, uber casual, lively, comfortable for all ages.
Drinks: $2 domestic bottles Labatts, Bud, OV . Drafts include Yuengling, $2.50/pint; Sam Adams, $3.50/pint; and Great Lakes, $3.25/pint. Wine by the glass starts at $3.50.
Specials: Ladies Night is every Thursday with two-for-one well drinks; Mondays and Saturdays there are well drink specials.
Dress code: Comfort rules. Entertainment: Internet jukebox