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Blue-collar block party vibe behind Garage Café at new Wrecking Yard

Now boasting the biggest beer garden on Hertel Avenue, the Garage Café’s newly opened patio, dubbed the Wrecking Yard, has made it through the bodywork and is ready to hum.

The fledgling Garage Café that’s garnered an avid following with homestyle meals and decadent breakfast options has blown out the back door and effectively doubled its footage with the addition of this open-air patio.

Although still connected to the café both spatially and through the menu, the Wrecking Yard has a character all its own, serving honest deals on cold beers and grill specials in addition to the already popular offerings available at the café.

As the name would imply, the Wrecking Yard is a no-frills setup. Designed to maximize capacity with minimal upkeep, every inch of the large rectangular yard that isn’t concrete patio is covered in a chunky mix of sparkling white and stone peppered with flecks of color serving as a functional but oddly festive surface that’s well-suited for the heavy foot traffic they’re hoping to garner.

Cristina Gozdalski, left, and Lisa Galanty of Buffalo compete against each other in a friendly game of corn hole with their boyfriends. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Walled in by 8-foot fresh pine fencing, it will take a while to put some welcome patina on the polish of this baby-faced bar and lend it some weathered character to match the rusted-out pickup truck on display toward the back.

[Read more: Hertel's Garage Cafe is couple's way forward after motorcycle crash]

That’s not to say the patio space is devoid of charm. Far from it, in fact. Pitchers of beer taste better knocked back at picnic tables, of which the Wrecking Yard has several complete with umbrellas if you’re looking for a breather from the otherwise uncovered patio. Anything much more ornate wouldn’t fit the theme.

It’s a blue-collar atmosphere born from the back of a former auto-body shop that’s tailored to those whose primary concern isn’t the best spot for selfies.

Bartender Nick Riniolo, the owner's son, talks with customers. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

In addition to pitchers of draft beer, there are bucket specials on domestic and local beers along with a succinct grill menu that’s cooked out in the yard – $2 dogs, $3 chili dogs and $9 half-pound burgers are the best drinking buddies for your buck.

But if you’re not satisfied with the variety, the full Garage Café menu is offered in the Wrecking Yard as well. The same goes for the wine selection, listed in print but not yet on the boards.

Apart from the appeal of getting tuned up with a cold beer in the sun after a long day, there are weekly events including live music on Fridays and bike night each Wednesday. If you’re on a tour de force as the summer wraps up looking to max out on fun and the seasonal staples, try a burger and a beer in the Wrecking Yard behind the Garage Café.

Hanging our from left are Louiza Case, Conor Drmacich and Louiza's brother Elliot Case. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

The Wrecking Yard at the Garage Cafe

Address: 1127 Hertel Ave. (436-2141)

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight Friday; and 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday.

Scene: Open-air block party bash set to a Greaser backdrop.

Drafts: 4

Bottles: 16

Wines: 6

Cocktails: No Liquor

Food: Burgers and dogs straight off the outdoor grill supplemented by the full Garage Café menu that spans cinnamon buns to meatball buckets.

Ask about: Pitcher and bucket deals.

Parking: Street.

Credit/Debit: Yes.

Don’t forget to: Grab a $2 dog. You’re never too full for a $2 dog.

- Starters at the Garage Cafe shortly after opening
- Garage Cafe's cinnamon roll inspires tantalizing food photos

The Garage Cafe at 1127 Hertel Ave., which opened in January, now has the biggest beer garden on Hertel Avenue. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

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