Artisan pizza washed down with a craft beer or a strip steak paired with a fine wine - take your pick at O.P. Social Tap & Grille, which opened in Orchard Park at the end of 2015. The local establishment, at the site of the former David’s Grille, is owned by David Hart of Hart Hotels and Peter Krog of Krog Corp.
General manager Mark C. Strzyz says it’s his goal to put a smile on customers’ faces as newcomers find O.P. Social daily. Strzyz took time to talk about what’s putting O.P. Social on the radar in Western New York.
Question: Would you say pizza is your top-selling item?
Answer: I hate to say we’re a pizza joint, but we did sell 15,000 pizzas last year. We’re known for a variance of our menu, but artisan-fired pizzas are one of the best-selling items. All of our dough is made in house. Chef Mike Morgan is one of the most talented chefs I’ve worked with in my career.
Q: Do you encourage people to go beyond the pizza portion of the menu?
A: Yes. We also have great appetizers like hot pepper dip and salads. I can’t pick a favorite. Buttermilk fried chicken is great. So is the steak or the bone-in pork chop with chili pepper butter. Our Social burger is a 10-ounce burger with arugula and Gorgonzola with onion rings on top. Our Social wings are a spectacular product - I can keep going. Once again, it’s Chef Mike Morgan.
Q: What trends do you see from Local Restaurant Week?
A: We’ve taken part in all of them since we opened. I think people want to try something new. What I notice is that we’re a local restaurant so we get a lot of people who live in Orchard Park, but word has traveled and it’s very positive. We see people from the outskirts in Hamburg, West Seneca, Elma, Boston and the Northtowns.
We’re adding to our customer base rather than maintaining a 5-mile radius. Our current repeat guests are our foundation so we have to have a mode of consistency in serving food and producing the menu.
Q: How do you use the menu to attract a wide variety of customers?
A: With our menu, you can come in with your kids and your husband. You might want a hamburger while you husband wants a strip steak and the kids wants pizza - we can fulfill those needs. It doesn’t matter what day it is or which server, it’s always consistent and that recipe of consistent service, good food and experience - that’s why we’re seeing repeat business.
Q: With “tap” in the restaurant’s name, customers will expect a wide variety of beer. How do you keep them quenched?
A: We have 20 lines on tap. We try to pour locally and feature local breweries like Hamburg, 42 North, Ellicottville, Pressure Drop, Big Ditch. The idea behind that is to stay true to our roots. The Hart family and the Krogs want to support the community.
Q: What do you have planned for the future?
A: We constantly keep evolving. We just added Sunday brunch, from 11:30 to 2, on April 8 with a great response. We offer mimosas and a loaded Bloody Mary. We’re constantly moving the right pieces to add on to what we have.
Q: How will you change the menu for summer?
A: We are in menu review for summer right now. We have a core menu that doesn’t change, but we change items around so it’s seasonally specific with local offerings. So come on in and give us a try. It’s a fabulous spot.
INFO: O.P. Social Tap & Grille, 4247 N. Buffalo Road, Orchard Park (662-4247). Hours: Bar opens at 4 p.m. Dinner is served 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Sunday brunch is 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
*Read Elizabeth Carey's interview from last week: