Craft beer and craft pizza go hand in hand at a restaurant in the Village of Hamburg – hence the name "Butera’s Craft Beer & Craft Pizzas."
But the establishment at 32 Main St. is standing up to its title serving pints and pizza. Since opening in September 2015, the owners, Jimmy and Lindsey Butera, have been crafting and perfecting their menu, which was recently revamped. They chose to eliminate all traditional domestic beer from the bar menu and focus solely on craft beer with a rotating tap selection. Rather than just jumping on the popular craft trend, the Buteras have a history that led them down this path.
Q: You say you come from a pizza family?
Jimmy: To explain where we are today, I have to explain where we started. My grandparents moved here from Italy. My grandfather, Sal Butera, had a grocery store I want to say in the early 1940s. Then he went into the pizza business. He ran one of the first pizza stands at the Erie County Fair. Our family just celebrated 60 years serving pizza at the Hamburg Fairgrounds.
Q: So you got your start there as a kid?
Jimmy: I worked for my grandfather who still has a stand at the fairgrounds, my uncle now runs it. When I was seven years old, I was serving slices and learned to make pizzas. Around age 13 or 14, I started working in restaurants as a dishwasher. I was brought up to line cook when I was 15 and I’ve been cooking ever since. I traveled the country from the Grand Canyon to the Everglades to Vegas – cooking.
Q: Then you opened your own pizzeria in Hamburg?
Jimmy: In 2006, I opened Jimmies Pizza as stepping stone to get us to where we are today. I had Jimmies for nine years. We opened here in September, 2015.
Q: How are things different at Butera’s than Jimmies?
Jimmy: We brought a brick oven from Vienna, Italy to show homage to my grandfather. He started the pizza thing in our family. We’re a pizza family. I’m third generation. We’re not a traditional pizza parlor. We do it like they do it in Italy with the brick oven. We brought it to a new level, the next level.
Q: Besides the brick oven, what sets you apart from other restaurants?
Jimmy: People work hard for their money and we want to give them a great meal. Everything is fresh and homemade, nothing frozen. We make almost everything from scratch, burgers, dressings, the chicken tenders – we bread them ourselves. We want to have an atmosphere where people feel they are getting a good, quality meal, rather than processed frozen stuff that they can get anywhere.
Q: You serve beer and wine, but you don’t carry any traditional domestics?
Lindsey: We have an everlasting rotation of 14 taps. There’s one tap that’s always the same, but out of the other 13 taps when one comes off, you’re going to find an entirely different brewery going on. And we have 22 different types of beer in cans and bottles.
Q: But you really can’t get a Bud here?
Jimmy: Craft beer is the direction. We’ve got a lot of local breweries that do well. That’s why we don’t do domestics. We want our local breweries to fill that void. We want to support local.
Q: Your three kids (4-year-old and two 9-year-old twins – all boys) are hanging out at the restaurant today so you try to make it family friendly?
Lindsey: What we’re looking for is a friendly experience where you’ll get good food and let the kids be kids. People tell their babies ‘shhh,’ but you have to let them hear their voice! We want people to feel like they’re at home. We have people put their feet up or come and sit for two or three hours. It’s a comfortable atmosphere, not a snooty place. It’s a family restaurant with a bar in it.