5445 Transit Rd. / Williamsville / Northtowns | (716) 580-3701
Hours: Sunday-Thursday from 4PM-3AM (full menu 4pm-11pm) and Friday-Saturday from 4PM-3AM (full menu 4pm-12am)
The original Griffon Gastropub is in Niagara Falls. But when word got out that they had plans to expand closer to Buffalo Proper (not all that close, but still), people got excited. Turns out it wasn’t just empty hype either. The hype is real! The new Clarence gastropub, which opened on Transit Road in a homely strip mall adjacent to Rocco’s Wood Fired Pizza boasts a mind blowing 100 beers on tap. Plus, they actually deliver on everything they claim on their snazzy website.
According to Griffon Gastropub’s website, “If you’re looking for a typical ‘neighborhood grill’ type of place, keep looking,” and we agree. This is no average pub with bar food. One meal at Griffon and you’ll see that they put just as much effort into the food menu as the beer list, not to mention training their staff. If you’re looking to venture slightly outside your comfort zone (think Duck Wings and Banh Mi Burger), this is your kinda place. They’ve thought of everything, resulting in a unique experience full of beer, original food, friendly service and a great atmosphere.
The large menu is full to the brim with off-beat takes on everyone’s favorites. “Food B4 Food” (apps) consists of fun dishes like potsickers ($7.50), Sweet Corn Fritters ($6.50), Turkish Lamb Meatballs ($10) and Biscuits and Gravy ($9). Wash that down with some “Soup-er” – Thai Chicken ($3/$5), “Not So Rabbit Food-ish” like a Grilled Caesar or Roasted Apple & Blackberry salad ($5 – $14) and “Tasty Sides” like Coconut ginger basmati rice or charred asparagus. They also have “Inventive Sandwiches” ($9.50 – $15), “Fresh Handmade Burgers” ($9.5 – $15) and “Creative Entrees” ($14 – $36). Their Pub Menu ($6-$13) is served open to close offering things like El Macho Nachos, a Pub Platter and Grit Sticks. (We’ll take one of everything.)
The beer menu offers 100 beers on tap including long lists of everything from lagers & ales to stouts, porters, hops, wheats, Belgians, flavors, fiders and even sours. They offer a bunch of different sizes including flights, ranging in price from $2 to $9. Plus they tell you where the beer is from, the style and the ABV. Needless to say, it’s a beer experience.
A few weeks after their official opening, we headed to Griffon Gastropub to see for ourselves if the hype was well deserved. We started the evening off with a couple of banana flavored beers at the mid-sized bar up front. The space is dimly lit and was full of happy people enjoying their surroundings. You can easily tell from the space that they spared no expense. I’m impressed again and again at these Transit Road restaurants that manage to create something special beyond the ugly storefronts. (You know it’s true.)
Another notable part of the experience at Griffon Gastropub was the service we received throughout the evening. Our server was not only attentive, quick and friendly, he was super helpful, recommending dishes, guiding us through the menu, explaining what’s popular and listening to what we liked. It was pretty nice to be hard-core waited on at a pub for once, not gonna lie. The service increased the likelihood that we will recommend this restaurant to others and return ourselves.
Food B4 Food
- Duck Wings – Crispy fried duck wings tossed in an Asian chili sauce, topped with white sesame seeds and green onions, $9.
These were delicious! Much larger and meatier than their chicken wing brothers. Tossed with a lovely sauce that doesn’t take over the dish like some Asian sauces.
- Fried Goat Cheese Bruschetta – Mini, fresh herb and panko crusted goat cheese medallions, flash-fried, served on a garlic crostini with fresh basil pesto and heirloom cherry tomato, drizzled with balsamic reduction, $9.
To bruschetta purists this probably sounds like it has a little too much going on to be bruschetta. But it was fantastic anyway. The bold flavor of the pesto, the creamy goat cheese and the refreshing tomato. I could eat 30 of these and almost did.
- Chicken & Waffle Sandwich – Freshly made Belgian chive waffle, sliced in half, filled with a southern spiced, buttermilk battered, panko fried chicken breast, jalapeno coleslaw, applewood smoked bacon, sliced Wisconsin cheddar and drizzled with spicy maple mayonnaise, $14.
This was my pick. As much Chicken and Waffle Sandwiches seem mainstream in Buffalo now, it doesn’t happen to make it onto my plate nearly enough. I loved the chives baked into the waffles on this one. The chicken, the slaw, the dressing – my mouth is watering as I type.
- Side of Brussel Sprout – Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash, $2
Flavorful and delicious. If you like sweet potatoes, you’ll like this. I even had some to take home!
Fresh Handmade Burgers
- Wild Game Burger – Kangaroo, elk, boar, duck, venison, yak, bison, kobe, ostrich and more! The day we visited it was Elk. Served on a toasted brioche bun with arugula, fresh tomatoes and crispy onion nest. Served with fries or an upgraded side, $15.
My wilderness enthusiast date couldn’t help but order this adventurous burger after a little prompting from our server. The meat (Elk) turned out to be pretty average but the bun and the toppings made it just a really great burger.
- Side of Sweet Potato Fries – tossed in honey butter, $2
These were realllllll good and there was plenty of ’em. Sticky and sweet (as I’m sure you can imagine).
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