Casey’s Tavern, the Black Rock staple that closed this summer, is coming back freshened up but not dramatically changed, the new owner said.
It’ll be called Casey’s Black Rock, expand its menu, and add a line-up of pinball machines and bubble hockey. But it will be the same neighborhood haven at heart, a “fresh start that doesn’t reinvent the wheel,” said Vincent Garofalo, the new owner-operator of the business.
Garofalo was a cook-bartender at Casey’s for three and a half years before the building at 484 Amherst St. was sold and the business became available. His goal is to open during the winter, in early 2019.
Loyal customers are the core of his business plan. “I have some customers that have been going there for 30 or 40 years,” he said. “Their mother and father used to meet there for a fish fry. They’re bringing their kids for a fish fry.”
He plans to simplify the menu, do more good pub fare, and introduce a few dishes you might not see often outside the Erie County Fair. “I really can’t think of a food group that’s more friendly to alcohol than fair food,” he said. “I’ve never been to a bar where you can get fair food all year long. We’ll experiment with it, and see how that goes.”
Blooming-style onions and deep-fried Oreos are possibilities, “things we’ll tinker with, but we’ll keep the classics,” Garofalo said.
That means the Friday fish fry, which Casey’s has been known for over decades, won’t change, Garofalo said. There will be wings, beef on weck, and spaghetti with meatballs on Sundays.
The food menu will still be available into the morning hours, he said. “If people are hungry, we’ll take care of them.” Casey’s has been open 11 a.m. to 4 a.m., a full day full-service bar. There might be earlier closings on slow nights.
There has been a bar at Casey’s address serving Black Rockers for more than 50 years, he said.
Renovations will include a new bar, a new kitchen, and extensive freshening-up of the interior. “With the way that neighborhood is coming up, it could use a face-lift, and I think our customers deserve that.”
Removing the tavern’s sign has revealed a vintage neon sign facing Amherst Street. It would need work, but Garofalo is considering into putting it back into service.
“We will explore all options to keeping it as original as possible on the outside,” he said. “But you can’t always get what you want.”
The back room will take on an arcade tone with a small collection of arcade games, pinball machines, and a bubble hockey machine. Televisions will be added for better game-day experience, including a projection screen in the back room.
"We are excited to give our existing customers a fresh start," Garofalo said, "and open the door to new customers as well."
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