Talk to anyone in Buffalo, and usually they’ve got some percentage of Irish in them (proud Irish girl here myself!), which means that St. Patrick’s Day in the City of Good Neighbors is basically one big family party.
Some celebrate with drinking. My family has always celebrated with an incredible spread of all the good stuff: melt-in-your-mouth-tender corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, along with crumbly, buttery Irish soda bread.
If you’re not lucky enough to have a mom who cooks, or ambitious enough to make it yourself, no worries; Buffalo’s got your back. A number of praise-worthy pubs throughout Western New York will save you a plane ticket to the Emerald Isle by transporting you via food.
We’ve compiled a list (in no particular order) of the 11 best places to get a plate or two — or three, no judgement here — of Irish food.
As the Irish blessing goes, “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.”
Address: 382 Abbott Road, South Buffalo
Conlon’s came back swingin’ with Irish fighting spirit when it opened for business in November after an outpouring of fans mourned its closure. These days, it’s open limited hours (see website for deets). Try the “Conlons Irish Nachos Supreme,” its pub fries loaded with shepherd’s pie stew, cheddar, bacon, deep-fried jalapeños and sour cream ($9.99); loaded potato, which comes with corned beef, swiss and sauerkraut ($9.99). For entrees, try the shepherd’s pie ($12.49), a beef and lamb stew smothered in mashed potatoes, topped with cheddar and baked, or the pot roast, which features chunks of braised beef with potatoes and carrots ($13.99). We appreciate the way they add “O” to certain menu items (Example: “cup o day, basket o ribs”). O-kay.
Address: 2134 Seneca St., South Buffalo
This South Buffalo mainstay will give you that old tavern feel with its cozy, wood-paneled interior. Here, you can get corned beef cabbage rolls, which comes with two, along with a spicy mustard sauce, or Irish beer cheddar soup, a soup filled with cheese, potatoes and beer. Another interesting menu item is its “Irish filet mignon,” which comes with a Gaelic sauce. If you’re wondering what Gaelic sauce is, it’s made with whiskey, of course. A number of entrees featuring corned beef, in various iterations, is also available. Its “Triple D Platter” offers all the items highlighted when the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives came to visit: a mini beef on weck, crab cake, cup of Irish beer soup and tater tots.
Address: 669 Wehrle Drive, Amherst
In operation for more than 40 years, this family-owned business is an oldie but goodie. Formerly in South Buffalo, it’s now in Amherst and known for its reliably delicious daily haddock fish fry ($12.49). On Tuesdays it serves its homemade corned beef and cabbage. You an also get corned beef sandwich ($8.69) every day of the week. This place is a solid bet for some stellar Irish food.
4. The Irishman Pub and Eatery
Address: 5601 Main St., Williamsville
How can we NOT mention the Irishman? This Village of Williamsville eatery is expensive, and whether or not it’s worth the high prices is debatable, but what this spot will get you is a bona fide “Feel like you’re in Ireland” vibe. It markets itself as an old pub feel with current culinary trends. Around St. Patrick’s Day they host live music under a tent with sandwiches and lots of beer. Things get rowdy. Try their Guinness barbecue wings ($13) or the Irish spring rolls ($11) for starters. For entrees, staples include the Guinness stew ($15), corned beef and cabbage, carrots and mashed potatoes ($16 and served Saturday and Sunday only) or the shepherd’s pie ($15.50).
Address: 4236 Clark St., Hamburg
Southtowners will appreciate this closer-to-home spot. The family-owned eatery hosts live music the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day, so start practicing your jig steps now. Start with the “Irish skins” ($9.75), which are potato skins filled with corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and dressing, or the Irish beer cheese soup, a cheddar cheese soup topped with rye croutons ($4.49 for a cup). This place serves all the Irish favorites, and every day of the week, which is completely amazing. Corned beef and cabbage with rye bread and potatoes ($12.95) and shepherd’s pie (also $12.95) are on the menu, along with some interesting offerings. These include the “Monster McCree,” a pound of corned beef with Russian dressing and Swiss cheese piled on a grilled rye roll ($15.99) and the “Mother Superior,” corned beef with red onions, dressing and Swiss cheese ($11.49). One word: YUM.
Address: 474, Abbott Road, South Buffalo
This neighborhood pub is set in the heart of South Buffalo’s Irish Heritage district, and it’s worth a visit for the excellent food and old school tavern feel. It serves traditional pub fare, along with newer takes. Last year their chicken and waffles iteration was featured on the Cooking Channel. And did we mention the “Smitty” wings? You’ll just have to go there to try em.’ If you hit in on the right days, you can get some killer deals, and, St. Patrick’s Day or not, we’re ALL about that. On Monday and Tuesday you can get 50 cent wings, Wednesday a burger for $5 (dine-in only) and$1 off drafts Monday through Wednesday. Around St. Patrick’s Day they offer corned beef and cabbage meals. Check their Facebook page for updates.
Address: 425 Potters Road, South Buffalo
This Irish-themed tavern has everything you could want in a laid back eatery, plus friendly service and a down-home feel. Around St. Patrick’s Day they offer corned beef meals and sandwiches, along with live music. Check their Facebook page for updates.
Address: 4401 Transit Road, Williamsville
Brennan’s, which has been around for more than 40 years, is staple in the burbs. It’s a superb gathering spot to find Western New York favorites — wings, beef on weck, stuffed banana peppers — along with a huge offering of Irish-inspired foods, many of which include Guinness. We’re 100 percent on board with that. Try the Irish potato soup (cup $4, bowl $5); Irish potato skins ($10); and Irish wings (10 for $16, 20 for $25). These are tossed in an Irish whiskey and bacon glaze. Also available is shepherd’s pie ($14). They feature an Irish menu March 1 through March 31 that includes corned beef and cabbage dinners.
Address: 73 Hamburg St., Bufalo
This old timey bar in the Old First Ward serves consistently delicious pub food. Try the potato bacon chowder (cup $3.75, bowl $6). They serve a corned beef and cabbage entree featuring simmered corned beef with potatoes and carrots, topped with a creamed leek sauce and rye bread ($13.50). Plenty of sandwiches, burgers and wings are also available. Go when you can. During the St. Patrick’s Day parade, this place gets packed.
Six locations in WNY: 4628 Broadway, Depew; 1531 Military Road, Kenmore; 6513 Broadway, Lancaster; 11 Main St., Tonawanda; 1537 Union Road, West Seneca; 4545 Transit Road, Williamsville
Phone: 681-2121, Depew; 877-1800, Kenmore; 683-3333, Lancaster; 692-1000, Tonawanda; 675-7575, West Seneca; 458-3455, Williamsville
Mooney’s deserves its place on the list because it’s mastered the Irish pub meets sports bar vibe. It’s obviously doing it extremely well, with six locations alone in Western New York. They’re known for their outrageously delicious, and massively portioned, macaroni and cheese, which earned them recognition on the Food Network. It may not be the most Irish thing on the menu, but if you’re there, obviously try the mac and cheese. We hear good things about the lobster one. Also try the “Irishman burger” ($11.50), made with house-roasted corned beef brisket, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut.
Address: 65 Webster St., North Tonawanda
Dwyer’s rounds out our list as a perfect place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Try their “Celtic chips,” thinly sliced potatoes fried ($2.99) or their “Fish N Chips,” beer-battered haddock strips served with French fries and hush puppies ($7.99). For an entree, try the “Guinness Burger,” a half pounder infused with beer and topped with cheddar and Irish bacon ($8.99) or the “Dublin Burger,” 12 ounces of beef with cheddar and Irish bacon. They’re known for their large variety of wing flavors, including the usual suspects along with interesting takes, such as raspberry barbecue, chili lime and wasabi plum. Hungry yet?