Lagniappes appears to embody Allentown. Judging from the traffic that endlessly pours through the front door, the local villagers have given their stamp of approval. At night, it's hard to walk past the warm glow emanating from the inside without walking in. As I sat at the front window waiting for my food, curious people would walk by, stop, turn around, and then walk in. Each time, they would chime in about how great the place looked, and "Could they see a menu?"... then, as if on cue, they would eye a seating arrangement that suited them and the orders would start to fly: "We'll try the jambalaya, the crab cakes, a smoked pulled pork Po-boy and a blackened steak and shrimp pizza." A vegan/vegetarian order would sound something like, "Bring us the veggie okra gumbo, red beans and rice, pan-seared polenta and an order of the okra and tomatoes." Other favorites include the Creole meatloaf, catfish, bourbon pork chops, chicken fried steak, any one of the numerous Po-boys, as well as the various sides ranging from sweet potato fries to the fried leeks. There's even corn on the cob and collared greens. The kids' menu offers catfish fingers, mini pulled pork, mac and cheese and chicken fingers.
As much as the food rocks my world, it is the atmosphere that is key at Lagniappes. Bob Sturm (the craftsman who built the bar for The Eights) did a fantastic job creating comfortable seating arrangements that give the customer plenty of vantage points to choose from. The restaurant extends towards the back, and as you walk past the intimate scene, you suddenly find yourself walking into a purple haze with a lone two-top accompanied by voodoo artwork. Walk a bit further and you'll find a couple of booths, a display of exotic hot sauces, and two bathrooms with gold doors. Both bathrooms are decorated with items that came from neighboring stores, just to keep in sync with the Allentown vibe.
Come spring, the restaurant will incorporate a sidewalk seating area that will wrap around to the 60' alleyway (called Pirate's Alley) and then around to the back, making the patio the largest in Allentown. Ivy and twinkling lights will be added, along with an outdoor barbecue pit and a live jazz brunch will be featured. Beer and wine are not currently available, but will be soon. It's wild to think that the new Lagniappes kitchen is the same size as the entire former restaurant. Not a bad upgrade all around. Next, Chris is planning on converting the former Lagniappes location into a late night hotdog joint called Lucky Dogs - that could open as early as the end of November.
Lagniappes French Quarter Cafe
220 Allen Street
Buffalo, NY 14201