Updated March 2020
The Hamlin House has been around forever, or pretty close. Construction on this Italianate style mansion began in 1860 by one Cicero Hamlin and finished shortly after the civil war ended. After some twenty years the house was taken over by the German Orpheus Singing Society and eventually sold to the current owners – VFW Troop 1 Post #665. To say it has an old and storied past is an understatement. This glorious classic structure is a pleasure to tour and in addition to lunch and dinner is available for private parties and comes replete with its’ own friendly ghosts. This could be an urban legend as we didn’t see any. The structure is glorious, the inside understandably a bit worn here and there, and quite honestly we’re not sure how the restaurant and the VFW thing work together.
I’m a sucker for stunning old Italianate style mansions with food. To me the Hamlin House is like a slice of Buffalo chopped and served on a nicely worn silver platter with a side of warm and fuzzy. They are well renowned for their fish fry, but they have plenty more to offer. This place is short on swank and long on history, charm, flavor and down home goodness.
We were impressed at the number of options available from several sandwiches, salads, burgers ($6), and Friday specials including beer battered fish fry, fish sandwich, and fried shrimp. They have plenty more for Friday dinner (sometimes a wait, always during Lent) and Sunday Breakfast.
We stopped in for lunch on a Friday and ran into a smattering of patrons at tables and a few at the bar. Located in a very cool area of Allentown, kind of behind Mother’s, is one the many beautiful buildings of Buffalo. Not sure exactly what to expect inside or on the menu we were happy to see a solid specials board, solid beer options and a warm hometown feel. Everyone was extremely friendly and after lunch we took them up on a self guided tour of the building.
Soup: Crab Chowder -$3.25 cup; Squash Soup – $3 cup; French Onion Au Gratin- Cup -$3.25
All were very good with rich broth that only comes with fresh ingredients and time. Loved the Manhattan style crab chowder.
Deep fried Asparagus – $?? – served with some melted cheese (mozzarella?) on top and Romoulade sauce on the side.
These were really tasty, reasonably light and better than I could have imagined. Please note this is on the dinner menu and may not be available during lunch.
Steak Sandwich – 5 oz Char-broiled sirloin with cheese, peppers and onions with potato salad, $8.25
One solid strip steak, cooked to a perfect medium rare, this was nice and juicy and a steal at 8 bucks. The house made potato salad was a winner too.
Hamburger Reuben – 1/3 lb burger grilled on rye with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut & Russian dressing, $6.00.
They have several good looking burgers on the menu and a nice size for what might be the best price in town.
Deep Fried, Battered Haddock Fish Fry -Served with fries (or mac n cheese or potato salad), coleslaw and macaroni salad, $13.95
Available all day Friday this was beautiful looking – picture perfect work of haddock in a flavorful and robust batter that you don’t see everywhere. One of the best we’ve had around town.