Noting that Hamburg’s The Grange Community Kitchen is a place you, your family or anyone you know should visit for three squares a day isn’t exactly a revelation. The meticulously planned invention of former Elm Street Bakery chef Brad Rowell and his design-savvy wife, Caryn, has been showered with praise from both culinary critics and charcuterie nibblers since its opening this past summer.
But when noting the location’s utilization of geographically adjacent ingredients or its kitchen staff’s ability to turn a simple pastrami sandwich into mustard-slathered celebration, it’s easy to overlook The Grange as a pretty impressive watering hole.
Whether because of its complementary wine list, craft cocktails or rotating list of eight local drafts, those visiting for meals have found the former Tina’s Italian Kitchen address as conducive for happy hour drinks or late-night rounds as it is for helpings of oysters.
Available inside its polished space or across its sidewalk patio, it’s an affable drinking adventure sidling a premiere dining experience all nestled within the heart of Buffalo’s friendship-built southern suburb.
The (cider): Leonard Oakes Steampunk Cider
The breakdown: Is the Grange a prime spot for those interested in inhaling a rotating list of local craft drafts and hard-to-find seasonal cans amid sunlit interiors and harmonious hum of Father John Misty? Yes – and you can.
But since it’s fall and The Grange’s surrounding Hamburg vistas provide an ideal accompaniment for the flavors of autumn, consider ordering a Steampunk ($7), which serves as a sweet — and at 7 percent ABV, potent – taste of the season. Since it’s made nearby in Medina, its availability is consistent with the locale’s local-ingredients-first focus.
And either straight up or on ice, its also a refreshing cider that can be slugged amid laughing conversation or the dinnertime guitar fuzz of Eggs Over Easy’s “Funky But Clean,” both essential in-house components to any Main Street visit.
Pizza the Hot: You don’t order and meticulously tile a massive oven from Naples, Italy if you don’t plan on concocting some serious wood-fired pizzas. And at The Grange, the most serious – and always evolving – selection is its Spicy Pizza.
Now in its second iteration as 2.0, it’s not for those who ask for their wings mild or horrifically scoff at those apt to festoon any meal with a fistful of Frank’s.
But accented with Calabrian chile peppers, chili honey and a fiery Italian salami known as soppressata picante – as well as pepperoni and sausage – it’s certainly for those who like to have their mouths set ablaze. Then again, having flames to repetitiously douse isn’t a bad thing with the cider available.
It takes a village: Though The Grange’s menu offerings and ambiance make it a viable standalone destination, it’s simply a shimmering component of a now bustling Village of Hamburg core. Corner taverns. Burger joints and bowling alleys. Ice cream, Saturday’s Farmers Market and the iconic Palace Theater.
All is within walking distance of its community’s most inventive kitchen, and all works together to make the quaint neighborhood appealing to city dwellers and suburbanites alike. Does this mean Elmwood Village loyalists will soon seek residence on the maple-lined streets of the ‘burg? Not necessarily – but it’ll be nice to take a drive.
22 Main St., Hamburg (648-0022)
Beers, ciders on tap: 8
Beers, ciders in bottle or can: 10
Stop by for: Creative farm-to-table fare, a regularly rotating list of craft drafts and cans, and a friendly pub atmosphere intertwined within one of the region’s most exciting culinary destinations.
Breakfast, then beers: Wake up for The Grange’s morning sandwiches or homemade pastries before cycling through its eclectic and locally focused beer and cider menu – once the hour permits.
Yes, reservations: Want to avoid sadness? Guests should book their dinner visits in advance via phone or The Grange’s website. Walk-ins for breakfast and lunch are welcome.
Parking: Available at large public lot across Main, as well as street spaces.
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 4:30 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 4:30 to 10 p.m. (Bar open later.) Closed on Sunday and Monday.