A flurry of activity in the Western New York restaurant scene closed out the final months of 2018, as new restaurants and bars opened from Alden to Olcott.
Here's a quick list of the new businesses, including a Southtowns meadery and a new neighborhood bar-restaurant trumpeting trash plates and poutine.
Where: 1895 Clinton St.
When: Opened Nov. 14. Hours are 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday.
What: With a plain name like The Clinton Lounge, you would be forgiven for thinking it's a restaurant-bar that had been open for decades. But owner Annette Schlau, who also runs Rooftops Bar in Lovejoy, recently rehabbed the former Dad's Cafe on a busy stretch of Clinton Street to feature a larger dining area, but kept the pool table and a mini bowling game.
The debut menu constructed by general manager Shawn McCall is unusual comfort food, with four trash plates (a more trademark-friendly version of Rochester's Garbage Plates), three kinds of pseudo-poutine (including tater tots) and a variety of panini and sandwiches.
Cost: Prices range from $5 to $13.99, excluding wings, which are more depending on the order. Fish fry sold daily. Cash only, but there's an ATM on site.
Interesting items: The Lil' Smokey, pictured below, is hand-cut curly fries, roasted and pulled pork, cheddar cheese, chipotle glaze and green onions ($9.99). The pork wasn't dry, the fries definitely hand-cut and the chipotle glaze both sweet and spicy to keep the dish interesting.
Where: 12775 Broadway, Alden, in the Tops Markets plaza.
When: Opened Dec. 1. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
What: After a few delays, Katrina McCormick opened this restaurant last month, serving Greek-American fare with authentic classics like grape leaves, tabouli and falafel. A haddock fish fry for $9.99, a solid kids menu, open souvlaki salads, melts, wraps, pita pockets and more appear on its extensive menu.
Cost: Prices range from $3.99 to $11.99.
Interesting items: Katrina Melt (chicken souvlaki, sauteed onions, lettuce and mayo between two pitas, $8.99), falafel burger ($4.99), grape leaves with pita and tzatziki ($5.49).
Where: 100 Elmwood Ave.
When: Opened Oct. 1 in the former Cafe Taza location (Cafe Taza moved to 350 Main St., the former Buffalo Coffee Roastery in the Main Place Tower). Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
What: As Buffalo Business First's James Fink reported, Intersection is run by Clinton Hodnett, Steve James, Dianne Britain and Heidi Jones. A variety of coffee, espresso and tea options grace the regular menu - seen here on The Intersection Cafe's Instagram page - with specialty options such as a Green Tea Spritzer, Dirt Tea (a black tea and Chai combo) and a Smokin' Joe Mocha (made with cayenne pepper) remaining from Cafe Taza.
BreadHive bagels and muffins are also available, and the business caters to vegan diets, too.
Cost: $1.75 to $5.52 for drinks.
Where: 5211 Broadway, Lancaster.
When: Opened Dec. 6. Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.
What: Veteran pizza-maker John Cummings is at the helm of this new Lancaster pizzeria, which departs slightly from other Buffalo pies in its use of a stone oven. This means of cooking delivers a crispy base to the crust and a chewy inside, depending on the thickness of the pie. Stone Oven's cheese blend is a combination of mozzarella and provolone, its website notes.
The oven also allows the new business to make its own French bread, the foundation of its sub lineup, which is fairly basic but tacks on a stinger. See the full menu here.
Cost: Appetizers run from $2.99 to $9.99, while pizzas range from $5.99 to $21.99 for cheese - toppings cost extra.
Interesting item: Deep-fried mushrooms (10 for $4.99), Reuben bites (six for $4.99) and fried dough ($2.99) for dessert are among the relatively unusual menu options.
Where: 290 Center Road, West Seneca.
When: Opened Dec. 8. Hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
What: Brian Bookmiller, Robert Schweizer and Kenneth Voelker have opened this meadery and taproom starting with a list of eight meads - alcoholic beverages made by fermenting honey with water, and sometimes fruits and spices. Blueberry, raspberry, black currant, cherry and ginger are among the flavors woven into the drinks, which can reach 20 percent alcohol by volume.
Cost: Range from $5 for a 4-ounce pour to $22 for a 750 milliliter bottle.
Interesting item: Summer Fling may not seem seasonally appropriate, but it's honey lime with blue agave session mead for $5 at 8 ounces (7.2 percent ABV).
Where: 13256 Broadway, Alden.
When: Opened Nov. 5. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Wednesday.
What: This Alden deli run by husband-and-wife team Nikolai and Melissa Alexandrowicz boasts Boar's Head meats, Yancey's Fancy cheese and prepared salads in its retail case, plus a standard list of cold-cut subs, with one special sandwich for each weekday of operation. Thursday's Buffalo chicken and Friday's chicken salad stick out as strong choices, in addition to a daily rotation of three soups.
Cost: $6.99 to $9.99.
Interesting item: Little Countryside Deli offers packaged Daiya products - such as macaroni and cheese, salad dressings and cheese slices - for gluten-free and dairy-free eaters.
Where: 83 Niagara St., Tonawanda.
When: Opened Oct. 26. Hours are 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
What: Near the corner of Seymour and Niagara streets in Tonawanda - a block south of the Erie Canal - sits Deyo's, a new bar with 17 drafts, small cocktail list and seasonal alcoholic and non-alcoholic treats (think Snowball martini, housemade eggnog). New York Beer Project, Woodcock Brothers and Big Ditch are among the local breweries represented.
Cost: Bar food ranges from $6.99 to $13.99. Dinner entrees go from $8.99 to $25.99. The soft-opening menu may be found here.
Interesting item: On Deyo's Facebook page, customers have raved about the 5-star steak and cheese sub, available as a 6-inch for $6.99 and as a whole for $11.99.
Where: 5855 Main St., Olcott.
When: Opened Aug. 28. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight daily.
What: Standard beer, wine and liquor with a few craft brews - such as Big Ditch Hayburner and a few seasonals - but primarily cheap domestic. Dining menu is Mexican, featuring tacos, tortas and nachos, but there's also bar food with interesting specials, ranging from bacon-wrapped peppers to stuffed, deep-fried pockets called Covey's Corners (which are now on the regular menu).
Cost: Food is $4 to $13, drinks are $3 to $8.
Interesting item: On Sundays, a gargantuan Bloody Mary comes garnished with bacon-wrapped shrimp. Also, there's a dedicated gluten-free fryer to accommodate allergies.