With the Irish tricolor as prevalent in South Buffalo as the stars and stripes that adorn the lightposts and houses, it is clear the neighborhood firmly identifies with its historical heritage.
It is some surprise, then, that some of Buffalo's best pizza is found densely packed into this region of the city. Among these is Brick Oven Bistro, located on Abbott Road and surrounded by streets that boast cobblestone pavement and houses entering a century of existence.
Brick Oven’s distinguished sign and open-air patio welcome guests to an expansive dining room. The restaurant is divided into three areas. The main dining room has ample seating with tables and booths. The bar has standard pub tables that add room for 30 more people. Tucked away off the bar is a small family room that separates a larger party from the rest of the diners.
This is a favorite spot for my family of five. The pizzas - baked on the namesake brick oven - are very good, with some unique selections. In addition to the traditional fare is a great selection of appetizers, sandwiches and several entree options you might not expect to find here, such as goat cheese bone-in pork chop.
Generally, we order two of the brick-oven pizzas and add an appetizer or two. There are few places the five of us can eat for $10 a person, but Brick Oven is on the list.
On a recent visit, we started with the garlic Parmesan and barbecue wings ($11.95 for an order of 10). They are always fantastic - sauced and then tossed on the brick for finishing. The wings have a crisp skin without the char of a normal grill, which is exactly how we like them.
The garlic Parm wings are coated with garlic butter, with a hefty dash of freshly grated Parmesan. The barbecue wings are tacky from the oven, and have a nice sweet tang.
The margherita pizza ($13) is one of the pies we regularly order. Our youngest two, who are ages 6 and 10, prefer minimal toppings so the cheese, sauce and fresh basil are perfect for them. The fresh pulled mozzarella browns nicely on the edges and the plum tomato sauce is simple and sweet. Each of the pizzas are the standard medium size, cut into six slices.
We bypassed some favorite pizzas like the beef on weck and steak and egg (a favorite of our teenage daughter) to try the new Brick Mac ($15) which has well-seasoned beef, a mix of cheddar and mozzarella, dill pickles, shredded lettuce, diced onion, and special sauce.
The Brick Mac is everything you would expect it to be and more. The buttery crust is soft and doughy in the middle and golden and crispy at the outside, which is true of all of the pizzas at Brick Oven. This homage to a childhood favorite was a home run. The flavors of each ingredient marry perfectly to bring the fast-food favorite to disc form.
The bar features a deep wine list, and more than a dozen craft beer selections on tap. There is also a grocer’s cooler stocked with Buffalo favorites, some of the best regional and national beer, and cider.
Brick Oven’s sandwich selections range from $8.95 to $12.95. The hearty dishes are served with chips, but fries can be added for an additional charge.
The varied entrees offer beef, chicken, pork and seafood, as well as home-style pasta dishes.
The South Buffalo jewel also features brunch on Sunday with uncommon options such as a seafood scramble and variations on eggs Benedict.
This is an excellent spot to start your own menu of family favorites, for incredibly reasonable prices.
904 Abbott Road (844-8496)
Hours: The kitchen opens noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Wheelchair-accessible: Yes, at the front entrance.
Gluten-free options: Yes, select entree options plus a gluten-free crust are available.
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