The Curly’s Bar & Grille Facts
647 Ridge Rd. Lackawanna / (716) 824-9716
Hours: Mon. – Fri 11 AM -10 PM; Sat & Sun 4 PM – 10 PM
Cuisine: Caribbean, International, Seafood / Price: $$$
RESTAURANT INFO / WEBSITE
Curly’s has been around for decades in one form or another. Originally a tavern, it became a very popular Lackawanna eatery back in the 90’s when Chef and CIA graduate Krista Van Wagner and husband Chef Kirk Van Wagner returned home to take over the family business. Krista’s father Paul ran Curly’s Pub that was founded by his father Curly back in the 1930’s. Krista and Kirk fired up some Caribbean flavors that transformed the local pub into a premier dining spot.
From the Pub and Grille grew Krista’s Sauce business as well as a banquet section along side. New ownership has come and gone in the past few years. The current management in the form of Chris DelPrince, with Kirk Van Wagner still managing the kitchen, is working hard to bring back the focus and flavor that made Curly’s a huge hit back in the day. Their new slogan – “The old jerk is back”.
Curly’s has undergone a lot of transformation over the years. New management seems to have their sea legs and is working hard to re-spark the old success. New items mix with old and offer a great venue for all occasions, making Curly’s perfect for family, lunch’s, romance, a quick cocktail and even a large party or reception.
While the menu is large it seems pretty well focused on a tropical theme featuring plenty of seafood with just enough beef and other to satisfy WNY Omnivores.
The bar is solid with roughly 14 beers on tap showing plenty of support for locals – I enjoyed a Resurgence IPA. Some of the crowd loved the cocktail du jour as well. Check out their specialty cocktails here.
The wine list is good with plenty of solid options in red and white. We went with a glass or two of the Clos du Bois Chardonnay$10, a Josh Cellar Pinot Noir $37 and a Josh Cellar Cab $31.
As far as healthy options go, Curly’s has quite the selection from soup and salads to sandwiches and full entrees. Check out the full Healthy Options menu offered below.
We tested the waters with a large, sometimes noisy group on a busy Valentine’s Day evening. Our table was ready on time even though we were not. After a few nicely prepared cocktails at the bar we were seated in the newish banquet area. Sometimes these spaces can be large and impersonal, but Curly’s has done a nice job of keeping theirs small enough to be cozy with large windows to the street. Working with a larger diner group can be exhausting for staff, but our waitress handled it beautifully and never missed a beat. Kudos and thank you to her!
Black Bean Soup with cilantro and lime crema and onions – $3.50
This thick, robust version is full of flavor. A no brainer if you’re here. Matter of fact I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to resist.
Mussells Pomodori with olive oil, chili flakes, basil, garlic and roasted tomato -$13
A healthy (pardon the pun) serving of mussels. The seasonings supply just a hint of flavor and leaves the mussels to do most of the work. Plenty here to share.
Grilled BBQ Shrimp, citrus dressed with baby greens – $13
Big fat (no seriously, they were huge) shimp in a light citrus sauce that complimented the Crustaceans well.
Jerk 1/2 Chicken, smoked with their house made Jerk Sauce- $19
One of the dishes that made Curly’s and Krista a fan favorite back in the day. Is the old jerk really back? I’m gonna say it is as good as ever – full of the flavor that a quality Jerk and a little smoke brings, that is hard to duplicate at home.
Peanut Crusted Chicken with curried mango and banana chutney – $17
This was REAL good. The chicken was cooked perfectly – which doesn’t happen as often as you might think. The crushed peanut crust was subtly nutty and perfectly complimented the tropical flavors in the robust chutney. This dish is a great choice for anyone hoping to experience a flavor burst while keeping their meal clean – from a nutrition standpoint.
Chicken Skillet Dinner, served with Chimichurri Sauce on cast iron skillets, fingerling potatoes, sweet peppers, toasted garlic, and broccoli -$17
This is a great presentation with the Chimichurri really adding a nice zing to the chicken.
14 OZ NY Strip Steak with Veal Glace – $30
I personally subscribe to the when in Rome rule but this was a fine cut of beef, cooked to order and all three of the rebels were happy with their choice.
Chicken Thai Curry Noodle rice noodles, curry broth, roasted peanuts, cilantro and lime – $16
This was a fairly impressive showing for a non-Thai restaurant. Plenty of curry flavor – the cilantro and peanuts give it just the right some panache.
Cheese Cake – $7 / Peanut Butter Pie – $7 / RT Beer Float – $9 / Key Lime Pie – $7
Curly’s has a great selection of desserts and these were all quickly devoured. I loved the Key Lime Pie but the stand out, on creativity if nothing else, was the RT Beer Float. It was served as a glass mug full of ice cream, a bottle of Saranac Root beer, and a shot of whiskey and it was delicious.
What is Healthy Options Buffalo?
Curly’s is a member of the Independent Health Foundation’s Healthy Options Buffalo program. The Healthy Options program was designed to help our community make informed decisions about healthy eating, and as a result, help address the high rates of stroke and heart disease prevalent in Western New York. Through this program, the Foundation works with area restaurants to offer heart-healthy food options that are considered lower in fat, saturated fat cholesterol, and sodium. To learn more about the Healthy Options program and to check out more great participating Healthy Options restaurants visit healthyoptionsbuffalo.com.
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