Old School Tavern opened on Clinton Street in January, aiming to become the neighborhood staple it was decades ago.
Owner Charles "Dusty" Rhodes said that when he was a kid, he remembers going to a corner bar for pinball and french fries while his father had a couple of beers. He hopes the place he runs with partner Guy Zagara, at 1263 Clinton St., can be a gathering place for families again.
The building has been a tavern since 1949 or so. It was last Pittner's, but had been closed for years.
Zagara formerly owned Blue Wall on Seneca Street in West Seneca. Rhodes is a drugstore manager, working on his first restaurant.
With family members, the partners worked on the building for a year before opening, he said. They restored the old tin ceiling that was under the drop ceiling, and installed a new hardwood floor. Peeling linoleum off the bar revealed cherry wood, which they refinished.
Old School Tavern offers wings, sandwiches, beef on weck and daily food specials, including the Friday fish fry. There's 10 draft beers, including a few local offerings, plus the full bar.
Amusements include a dart machine and a bowling video game. A pool table may be joining them once a back room once host to jazz bands is refurbished.
"One of the things that made me happy was when some of the Pittner family came in for a fish fry, and they said they loved it," he said. "People walk in and say 'This is an old-school bar,' before they even realize they're saying the name, and that's what we wanted."
The place is open seven days a week, Rhodes said, though that may change. Phone: 822-2337.
More downtown tacos: La Delicias Taqueria has replaced Cuba Rosa in on Pearl Street.
The Mexican taco vendor opened Feb. 23, filling the space at 454 Pearl St. that briefly held a Cuban restaurant.
Owner Saul Sanchez said he is also working on opening a full-service Mexican restaurant a block away, at 414 Pearl St., to be called Senor Tequila.
The menu includes 14 types of tacos ($2.50-$5), including fish and vegetarian options, quesadillas ($3-$12) and tortas ($8). Customers can dress their tacos with a salsa bar offering fresh-cut pico de gallo and five salsas ranging from cool avocado to fiery red chile.
Sanchez said that he planned to add sopes, discs of corn dough with toppings, at La Delicias Taqueria.
Meanwhile, he's working on getting Senor Tequila open down the street, in the space that was last Tavern 414. It'll have Mexican entrees, table service, and a full bar, Sanchez said, and should be ready be the start of May. "Hopefully, it will be open before Cinco de Mayo."
La Delicias serves tacos on doubled corn tortillas, like the popular offerings of La Divina in Kenmore and Clarence. My favorites from a brief sampling were the carnitas ($2.50), braised pork shredded and then crisped on a griddle, and chorizo ($3), loose Mexican sausage, which was robustly spiced with chile and cumin, but not spicy.
Also worth a try: tortas, the Mexican sandwich, with a well-proportioned amount of meat, cheese and avocado on a griddled bun, with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato.
K Cafe eyes food truck: K Café, the Tonawanda home of Korean-inspired Gangnam-style burgers, has closed.
But fans of the bacon-and-beef burgers, piled high with more beef, egg, kimchi and more, might still be able to get their fix. Kate Li, who owned the restaurant at 564 Niagara Falls Blvd, said she is buying a food truck to take her creations to Buffalo's hungry college students.
Its menu will concentrate on her Korean burgers and fry combinations, as she tries to expand her audience, she said.
[A 50-50 beef-bacon patty piled with cheese, egg, kimchi, avocado and more made the Gangnam one of Buffalo's great burgers]
"UB students are my core customers, but with a food truck I could serve Buff State and Canisius too, go where the crowd is," Li said. "That's what I'm hoping to do."
She hopes to get rolling by summertime.
"I think my burgers and fries have definitely touched a lot of people's hearts, especially the kids," she said. "I hope to serve them very soon." (Hat tip: Joseph Readl)
Transit Road Mexican: La Divina Dos has opened on Transit Road, bringing Mexican tacos to Clarence.
The tacqueria opened earlier Monday at 4125 Transit Road, formerly The Pomegranate.
It offers a smaller menu of tacos and quesadillas that the original La Divina location, which remains open at 2896 Delaware Ave., Kenmore.
"People love the tacos, so why just have one location?," said Yeslin Greason, the wife of owner Sergio Mucino. "Why make people drive to Kenmore just to have their tacos?"
Greason also said that Don Tequila, the full-service restaurant on Allen Street, was getting closer to reopening. La Divina and Don Tequila were among Mucino restaurants closed after he was arrested in an October immigration raid.
La Divina Dos currently offers soft drinks only, but has applied for a full liquor license, where the original stops at beer, Greason said. It will be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Phone: 633-5555.
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