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Scorpion pepper wings, stuffed peppers and pirates at Scallywags

If you want to feel like you’re on vacation this spring break without ever leaving Western New York, head to Scallywags Grub & Spirits in Derby.

The nautical/pirate theme will make you feel like you’ve stepped onto a Caribbean island that pirates have invaded – or at least make you feel like you’re in a restaurant that you’d find on vacation. Every inch of the place is decked out in pirate or nautical décor.

Head to the bar for Pirate Punch or attempt to walk the plank for some of the hottest wings around – either way, Scallywags is an experience.

The restaurant is the childhood dream of Deebe Brown and her brother David, who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after it opened. Now Deebe carries on the Scallywags' swashbuckling tradition in her brother’s memory.

Question: How do people react to your pirate theme?

Brown: They love it. The kids love it. We have lots of families that come in here. Everywhere I go, I find more items and decorations and I can’t stop myself from buying them.

Q: You offer about two dozen flavors of wings, including some that are ultra-hot even for pirate standards. What’s the secret behind those?

A: We believe we have the hottest chicken wings in Erie County. We use the Trinidad scorpion pepper grown on the island of Trinidad – that’s why it’s called the Trinidad curse.

Pepperheads from all over the place come out to try our wings. We have gloves for customers to use and our cooks wear masks when making batches.

Scallywags' smokin' fish torpedo is a unique spin on a fish sandwich. (Elizabeth Carey/Special to The News.)

Q: Besides the variety of wings, what is your go-to menu item?

A: I would have to say our burgers are really good. Our smokehouse pub burger or the deep sea salmon burger — that’s great. We have a smokin’ fish torpedo – that’s a big fish sandwich – we sell out. It’s topped with smoked gouda and fire-roasted red peppers on a toasted ciabatta with zesty dill tartar. It’s a great combination.

Q: What’s your personal favorite menu item?

A: They’re not on the regular menu, but we make stuffed peppers. People flock in to get them and they’re always geared toward the holidays, so for St. Patty’s Day I’ll make a Reuben stuffed pepper.

For Valentine’s Day, we had a seafood stuffed pepper. We’ll do a ham, sausage and farmer's cheese pepper for Easter. I make them myself. It takes hours to make a batch.

Stuffed poblano peppers are regularly served as specials at Scallywags. (Elizabeth Carey/Special to The News.)

Q: How do the seasons impact your business?

A: When people are on the way out to the lake, they’ll stop in to eat or have few beers so we see new faces in summer time. In the winter, the lake bars close so all the locals come in.

Q: Is it a challenge to predict how busy it will be?

A: It’s unpredictable. Ash Wednesday was Valentine’s Day, so we got hit really, really hard for that. Everyone went out for Valentine’s Day, so I expected a slow first Friday of Lent, and I was completely wrong. We were busy all week. We do offer fish fries daily.

Holly Zimmermann serves up a burger and salad at Scallywags in Derby while donning her maternity pirate gear. (Elizabeth Carey/Special to The News.)

Q: How has Scallywags fulfilled your lifelong dream?

A: It was our childhood dream to open a place someday. We wanted to find a place close to the lake. The proximity led to the pirate/nautical theme. We opened in 2010.

My brother was killed nine months after we opened. I wish my brother was here. It was sad when he was gone, but I felt that keeping it going is what he would want. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.


INFO: Scallywags Grub & Spirits, 6558 Old Lakeshore Road, Derby. 716-947-4111. Open at 4 p.m. daily. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

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