Not quite reinvented, but definitely reinvigorated.
That’s how you could describe The Roycroft Inn, which has become a bit of a trendsetter in the restaurant industry by continually unveiling new concepts and ideas. Loyal partnerships with area breweries and farms are the frosting on the cake that makes dining local even more delectable.
Dan Garvey credits his team for coming up with endless ideas, food pairings and more that are bringing patrons to the East Aurora establishment.
Question: How have you used events to draw customers in?
Garvey: We started Beer, Wine and Burger Night (Tuesdays) and we came up with Roycroft Uncorked (Wednesdays) where you can bring wine in and there’s no corkage fee. Sometimes we open a bottle and let everyone have a taste. It’s a lot of fun to experiment with.
Q: How would you say your wine pairings stand up against others?
A: They are amazing - the best I’ve ever seen in Western New York for $60 and the quality is extraordinary. Chef Andrew [Nuernberger] does a marvelous job. We pick five wines and put together a pairing and they sell out before the next one is planned.
[Related: Elbert Hubbard's legacy lives on through new Roycroft museum]
Q: Do you also cater to beer drinkers?
A: Chef Andrew is doing beer pairings with breweries like 42 North and Flying Bison - you name it. These are not just beer and cheese. The chef is so talented and goes out of his way. We’ve been doing it a couple years and there are so many new breweries out there that we can partner with all of them. What a great time for Buffalo.
Q: How is the Roycroft’s new bar working out?
A: We now have the bar - we’ve had it for three years. It has opened up the whole room and it’s a wonderful addition to the inn and we put in a fire pit this year.
We’ve always done Friday night music, but now we have Friday Night Live – blues, folk, rock, jazz, with local people and international. We’re having live music performances every Thursday with drink specials from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. – it’s not a late night, but it works out great.
Q: Are you still committed to farm-to-table?
A: Absolutely – it used to be an issue getting product, but now people collect from farmers and bring it in and communicate with chefs. We have about a dozen local farms. In the past, farmers couldn’t provide steady volume to put items on the menu and now they do. Chef Andrew has embraced this fully and I’m mad at myself because we don’t market it enough - they are wonderful products.
Q: Do you consider the seasons when you plan events?
A: We have a croquet league every Wednesday in the summer on a beautiful lawn across the street. We have 40 to 50 people in the league. We are doing ski packages – an overnight package with champagne or wine with a voucher for dinner. We should have details online this week.
We’re also working with a lot of art galleries for Cocktails and Canvas. We’ll get 120 to 150 people for it who walk around with wine and they can purchase if artwork if they want – it’s a great way to highlight local artists.
INFO: The Roycroft Inn, 40 South Grove St., East Aurora, 652-5552. Hours: Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Dinner is served nightly. Sunday brunch is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.