Fish fry season is in full swing and Wiechec’s in Kaisertown has a good one. (Honestly, Wiechec’s is good anytime of the year.) My Dad grew up on Weiss Street in K-town. My first memory is my cousin’s Communion party circa 1975.
Bar in front, tables and booths in back. Throwback vinyl tile floor, wood paneled walls with waitress buzzers of a time gone by. It looks the same as back then. In fact, I wrote previously about Wiechec’s in 2007 and can happily report it’s still basically the same.
While the neighborhood has changed, Wiechec’s is the one constant our family returns to. In this case, it was with the next generation (niece and nephew) for lunch on Ash Wednesday during school break.
The menu features old-school tavern foods: soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, wings (and other fried bar foods) and dinners. Subs run $4.50 half to $10.25 whole. Burgers are $7.75 to $8.25. Cold sandwiches $4 to $5.75; hot versions $3.95 to $11.75.
Wiechec’s soups are so good they’re sold by the quart. On our visit they had chicken noodle ($2.95 cup), tomato basil, New England clam chowder and chili ($3.75 cup).
We always get chicken noodle and why not? Rich savory broth with carrots, celery, chicken and kluski. No better way to fight winter. I meant to try the nephew’s chowder, but he had licked the cup clean. From what I scrounged, it was deliciously creamy with a little kick of heat.
For lent there are a good number of meatless items. Pierogi (cheese, potato or kraut) are $2.05 each or a dinner for $9.95. Macaroni and cheese ($5.25 small/$7.95 large) and mac and cheese with sandwiches: grilled cheese ($6.25), egg salad ($6.75), tuna ($8.50) and grilled tuna ($8.95).
For us heathens, there was cube steak ($9.95 whole/$8.95 half) and half Beer Battered Chicken ($9.95). Salads (Greek or Caesar) were $8.25; $9.75 with chicken or beef.
Of course there is fish. Haddock comes battered or breaded ($11.95/$9.95 half or fish sandwich) or Cajun or regular broiled ($12.95). Cajun grouper is $12.25.
Our two fish fry platters came laden with coleslaw, creamy potato salad, macaroni salad, hot fries and rye bread. Each plate was crowned with a giant, golden hot fried fish. Perfectly light and crispy on the outside, it was hot and flaky inside, exactly the way it’s supposed to be. We’re not sure if the salads were homemade but reports were “tasty” nonetheless. Half the dinners came home.
A basket of chicken fingers with fries ($9.75) was a pleasant surprise with large meaty fingers, a pile of fries and fresh cut celery.
Equally delicious was the giant thick cut bologna sandwich loaded with grilled onions and cheese ($5.25) on big slices of rye. Half of this came home, too.
Beef on weck ($7.50) was super tender, with slices of perfectly medium rare beef. It can be ordered on bread with gravy and fries for $10.75.
We also had a “small” mac and cheese. Made with shell pasta, it was creamy and cheesy, but tepid. Again, half came home.
The Wiechec family has been serving up comfort food since the 1960s.
Like that worn sweater you keep wearing because you love it, Wiechec’s has been hitting the spot in our family generation after generation. And frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
For a listing of community fish frys, visit www.buffalonews.com/fishfry.
Wiechec’s Lounge Bar & Grill
Where: 1748 Clinton St. (823-2828, on Facebook)
Hours: Open at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday; closes around 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday.
Wheelchair access: Side entrance (snow makes it tough).
Extra: Cash only. ATM on site. Take out available.