170 Ohio St, Buffalo
(716) 847-2898 | FACEBOOK | SOB LISTING
Open for lunch, dinner and fun seven days a week
The Swannie House has been a Buffalo staple pretty much forever. It occurs to me that walking through the front door here is as close as I’ll probably ever get to traveling back in time (not that I’m giving up on that dream). You can just imagine what this place was like a 100 years ago when Buffalo was one of the largest seaports in the world, and the waterfront was alive with hard drinking sailors and dock workers. Today the servers and patrons are much more congenial (I’m sure), down right friendly.
The Swannie House looks like a tavern first and a place to eat second, but it seems like somebody in the kitchen didn’t get the memo. They are well regarded for their fish fries, and we’d heard good things about lunch, so we gave it a try.
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If you’re looking for some quality pub food with some atmosphere and a side of history, then the Swannie House is calling your name. Don’t let the rough exterior fool you, someone is working hard in the kitchen. I’d be tempted to go for a late lunch, and let it roll right into happy hour and a Sabres game. Substitute Bisons for Sabres come spring.
We stopped in on a breezy weekday. Another Buffalo staple is the unforgettable smell of Cheerios roasting. The Swannie House is located right next door, across the street from the river by the Michigan street bridge. There was a small group at the bar with five or six tables available adjacent. We were immediately greeted by our friendly server (also the bartender), and treated to some fine draft beer choices . I went with the Smitwick’s.
For starters we ordered the house-made chili ($3.95), and beer battered Stuffed Peppers – $7.25. I was a bit nervous about the deep fried banana peppers. Maybe too much of a good thing? Not so, they were nicely battered, with a light crispy shell that seems to hold everything together. Put these babies on the top of the stuffed banana peppers in Buffalo list. The chili was good and meaty with cheese on top and some hot sauce served on the side. Perfect for a cold day.
I was impressed with the menu. For a “dive bar” (meant affectionately) they clearly have someone taking the food/kitchen thing seriously. Some of the menu items are as classic as the Swannie, with a few Buffalo standards, but they also offer some good looking salads, appetizers, burgers, wraps and entrees.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen Liverwurst on Rye ($5.95) on a menu so I just couldn’t help myself. My companion went old school too with the Fried Bologna sandwich with onions and a Mac Salad side – $7.95
The liverwurst was great, cut thick and piled high with fresh, full flavored slices of red onion, on a nice fresh rye bread. Probably enough liverwurst to last me another 10 years. The Fried Bologna was even better and I’ll be back soon for another. The bologna was cut think too, as it should be, piled with grilled onion and cheddar on a nice Costanzo roll. The Mac salad was tasty – clearly house-made with fresh herbs.
What Else Looks Good
Fish Fry (any day) – $10.95
Mushroom Burger – sautéed mushrooms, Swiss – $6.75
Spinach Chicken Sandwich – $6.95
House-made Sheppard’s Pie – $7.95
Grilled Cheese – $3.95
Fresh Cut Sweet Potato Fries – $3.75/$4.50