Can this really be the last full weekend of July? (And can we get a refund on those rainy days?)
Rule No. 58 of Western New York summer: That last home and garden project can wait.
As a public service announcement, we urge you to visit as many patios as you can before Mother Earth tilts us back from the sun.
Here are four to start. Wine and dine in the gorgeous settings of Cecelia’s and Mangia. Hang out with a beer at the industrial-like Resurgence Brewing. Or simply stare out over the shimmering water at the iconic Mickey Rats beach bar. While each experience is unique, the one thing they have in common is they take advantage of the best part of summer – the outdoors. Starting next week, look for an additional patio feature each week in Gusto as weather permits.
So gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying, as will (you know what) sooner than you think.
Where: 716 Elmwood Ave., (883-8066)
Hours: Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Dinner is from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Saturday and Sunday is Bottomless Mimosa Brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Scene: Cityscape sanctuary with great urban vistas.
Patio: Dining and drinking opportunities.
Dress: Breezy summer garb (but nothing sloppy, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb).
Bar: Monday Martini Madness with half-priced specialty martinis and appetizer specials from 4 to 8 p.m. Happy hour is 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with half-priced martinis.
Food: Contemporary Italian. Great $25 prix-fixe dinner Tuesday through Thursday includes glass of wine, first course, entrée (from 15 choices) and mini cannoli.
Yum: Summer Clam & Seafood Bar is open 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday, 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4 to midnight Friday and Saturday.
One of Buffalo’s hottest summer patios is Cecelia’s in the Elmwood Village. This longtime restaurant’s front patio has sleek tables, chairs and umbrellas, creating one of those experiences that causes you to think, “Yes, I’m really in Buffalo.” The al fresco table service never misses a beat, either.
In summer, the ’Tini Bar and clam stand open. Stop in for just drinks and seafood; there are plenty of extra tables and chairs to enjoy the street scenery.
Indulge in raw, steamed or casino-style clams, which are stuffed with Cecelia’s homemade bread crumb stuffing. Oysters, “when available,” are served on the half shell with a classic mignonette, homemade cocktail sauce and lemons. Prince Edward Island mussels are served steamed with drawn butter and lemon. Shrimp cocktail is “peel and eat” and comes by the half- or full pound.
Prices for clams, shrimp and oysters run $7 for a half-dozen clams to $17 for a dozen clams casino. A seafood bucket for two ($28) is the way to go and includes a dozen clams, a pound of mussels, a half-pound of shrimp and two ears of corn on the cob.
Paired with a cold craft beer, wine or one of Cecelia’s premium martinis or cocktails, we can’t think of a better way to soak in our all-too-short summer.
Mickey Rats / Captain Kidds Angola-On-The-Lake
Where: 8934 Lakeshore Road, Angola (549-3000)
Hours: Open daily at 11 a.m. Monday through Thursday until 2 a.m.; Friday through Sunday until 4 a.m.
Scene: Sun, sand, food, drinks and unparalleled people watching.
Patio: Two giant patios overlook stunning Lake Erie.
Dress: Any bikini, swimsuit, swim trunks, Speedo, shorts and flip-flop combo.
Bar: Drinks, drinks and more drinks. Sunday Fundays with Labatt and Bud specials and $4 Three Olives drinks, noon to 5 p.m. Monday late-night happy hour at 9 p.m. with $4 vodka drinks and Coors/Miller beers plus $2 tacos. Tuesday has $5 Absolut vodka or Malibu Rum drinks, $3 Mich Ultra. Wednesday is $3 Labatts. Thursday $7.50 Bud pitchers, $5 Jack Daniel’s Fire Shots. Friday has $7.50 Labatt pitchers with dinner. Saturday’s Patio Party is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with $4 Coors/Miller Light, $5 Bacardi rum drinks.
Food: Sit-down food service in Captain Kidds. A walk-up food stand straddles Kidds and Rats patios. Clam stand open daily.
Yum: Tuesday All-You-Can-Eat Crab from 4 to 9 p.m.; Wednesday Pasta Night; Thursday Barbecue Night;
Friday Fish Fry.
Extra: Beach volleyball and live music Wednesdays through Sundays. Special summer events include Jake and the Fatman barbecue on the beach on Sunday.
Oh, who doesn’t remember wasting away the days (and nights) of their youth at Mickey Rats/Captain Kidds unforgettable beach bar experience?
The place still continues to attract the next generation with temptations matched only by Sunset Bay Beach Club down Route 5. Sun, sand, drinks and flirting, Rats/Kidds delivers everything a beach bar should supply in large quantities.
Those of a certain age will note the giant tree on Kidds patio is still hanging in there. The stories it could tell. A photo collage along the wall in the corridor that links the two buildings documents the joint’s longevity, too. (Wait, is that you circa 1988?)
What’s great is that like the antelope and zebras of the African grasslands, both young and old patrons hang on the patio in perfect harmony, staring out over the water (or at that cute guy or gal on a beach towel).
Boats bob on the crystal water with the sailors venturing ashore every now and then. When motivated, the summer cottage crowd checks in, too.
Who can resist the whiff of coconut sunscreen on their skin, sand in their toes and a cold vodka tea in hand? These are timeless indulgences that peel away the years upon arrival. It’s all part of the Rats/Kidds scene that is not to be missed. If you can only make the trip once this summer, make it a good one.
Where: 4264 N. Buffalo Road, Orchard Park (662-9467)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday.
Rooftop patio hours: Opens at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Scene: Sleek and sophisticated rooftop oasis that overlooks North Buffalo Road.
Dress: Summer spiffy.
Bar: Everyday 5-6-7 Social Hour (5 to 7 p.m.) with $5 house wines, $6 martinis, $7 small plates.
Food: Small plates (salads, sliders, pasta) and specialty pizzas. Full menu served on street level patio.
Yum: A special summer feature is the floral Lavender Martini.
Extra: Gorgeous fire pits and summer flowers. Adjacent indoor “M” Lounge (open at 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday) offers indoor relief from heat or rain. Visit Facebook for live music schedule.
In the heart of the village of Orchard Park, Mangia has carved out a Southtowns oasis that oozes class and sophistication, providing a relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable experience.
The patio décor reminds one of a scene out of a Pottery Barn catalog, with comfy couches, tables and chairs set on a dark gray composite deck we wish we had. Seating along metal railings overlooks the street. Mangia’s two slick fire pits add both warmth and atmosphere. The industrial feel is softened by a profusion of flowers.
Guests are pampered the minute they arrive. Drinks and small plate food are served using real glass, china, napkins and silverware. Who thought it could feel like a vacation on a Tuesday night?
With an emphasis on swankiness, the drinks run from specialty cocktails and 14 nicer wine choices to craft beers from Resurgence Brewing. Mangia specializes in martinis, with 16 on its menu.
For the most part, entertainment earlier in the week is conversation with pleasant low music in the background. Starting Thursdays, there’s live entertainment on the Rooftop Lounge and on Fridays and Saturdays in the adjacent “M” Lounge. Located on the same level as the Rooftop Lounge, the “M” is worth a visit inside, if only to sink into one of the cushy zebra-striped chairs, or as an escape from rain.
When hunger pangs, small plates fill the void for the rooftop crowd. For those seeking a full meal, Mangia’s main level offers its full menu on the street-level dining patio. So dine, then head upstairs to the roof. Mangia truly is bliss in the ’burbs.
Where: 1250 Niagara St. (381-9868)
Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday; 4 to 11 p.m. Thursday; 1 to 11 p.m. Friday; noon to midnight Saturday; and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Scene: Playful beer garden experience; décor with an industrial edge.
Patio: Table service on weekends, look for a floating bartender and help yourself (which isn’t a bad thing). A very organic experience.
Dress: Summer duds.
Bar: Great local beer with seasonal, experimental and regular faves; wine, sangria and cider.
Beer flights available.
Food: Pretzels, chips and salsa, burritos; bread bowls, meat and cheese platters, artisan pizza. Food trucks on weekends.
Food Part 2: Resurgence allows guests to bring in food, including takeout from local restaurants (hint: La Nova is nearby).
Yum: Beer Mosa – half-sparkling wine and half-beer of your choice.
Extra: Let the games begin including bocce, corn hole and Jenga. Follow on Facebook and Twitter for events and more.
Weirdly wonderful: Look for gnomes (that’s all we’re saying).
Accessible: A lift can take guests down to the patio.
Resurgence Brewing has fast become one of the area’s favorite hangouts. It celebrate its one-year anniversary in June. Bringing Buffalo’s past into the present, the building on Niagara Street was once Sterling Engine, a marine engine manufacturer from early 1900s-1940s. The structure also served as the city dog pound for about 20 years and then a warehouse before finally being rescued and rehabbed by RBC owner Jeff Ware.
Giant windows above give the indoor space an outdoor feel. And when temperatures rise, Resurgence opens the giant door and – poof – indoors immediately becomes outdoors.
There is a smaller upper-deck patio. We love the handy shelf for holding drinks that overlooks the even bigger patio below. The outdoor urban space is filled with communal picnic tables and benches, umbrella tables with seating and a sleek fire pit with seating.
Drink beer made on the premises. Listed by batch number, one cannot help but chuckle at some of the names, like Sponge Candy Stout and Gnome Buddy’s Your Neighbor. Flights are available, as well as a rotating cider and sangria for nonbeer drinkers.
A limited menu provides just enough to stave off hunger, however Resurgence lets guests order food to be brought in, including legendary La Nova.
Resurgence brings folks together in interesting ways, creating a playful atmosphere and memorable experience.
Story topics: Angola/ Cecelia's Ristorante/ elmwood village/ Emeri Krawczyk/ Mangia Ristorante and Caffe/ Mickey Rats/ Orchard Park/ patios/ Resurgence Brewing Co./ summer drinking/ summer eating/ West Side