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Soft Opening for Pan American Grill and Brewery

While Mike A’s Steakhouse (see photos) got off to a busy start this past week, not many people realized that the Pan American Grill and Brewery, also located in the Hotel Lafayette, had a soft opening. It was on Thursday evening that we decided to stop in to grab a beer and see what the place looked like. The last time that I had been through, The Pan Am was just starting to come into its own, and it was clear that we were going to have another restaurant destination on our hands. 

Much like the Pearl Street Brewery (owner Earl Ketry’s other venture) The Pan Am is massive. Also similar to Pearl Street, the grill and brewery has a number of different arrangements for accommodating guests – one side of the business features a long rustic bar with tables and a second floor that overlooks the main room. The other side (the former Tap Room) features an even longer bar and two distinct dining rooms separated by a lounge with an enormous fireplace. The attention to detail is astounding (see why), and if you didn’t know any better you would think that The Pan Am had been around circa 1901. 
An update on Facebook posted on Wednesday gives us a clue as to what sort of menu we can expect:
What are you doing for lunch today? Check out The Pan American Grill & Brewery at the newly restored Hotel at The Lafayette …How about a fresh hand-pulled roasted chicken sandwich smothered in our housemade BBQ sauce and Muenster cheese with a tangy chipotle mayo? Or a fresh made Cajun and lemon seasoned Atlantic salmon patty on a toasted chiabatta roll with a lemon-scallion mayo? Wash it down with a nice amber ale…
Pan American Grill and Brewery
391 Washington St., 
Buffalo, NY 14203

Written by WCPerspective


Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.

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  • The Boss

    Spectacular is all I can say

  • Dan

    Looks like it’s been there since the building opened.

  • CindyLee

    I think I might have found a new lunch-home.

  • DR

    It looks great. However, I really miss the old Tap Room and the blues bands they had. I had just recently “discovered” blues music and really started getting into it right as the Tap Room closed.
    I would say I hope they still have live music and blues bands come there, but, it doesn’t have that type of look anymore.
    The pictures look fantastic, I’m not knocking it at all. I’m just saying I liked the old Tap Room too, for completely different reasons.

  • irishkwh

    Only worry I have is that Pearl Street is running this and if you have ever eatin at pearl st. you’ll know the food is average on a good day!

  • LI2Northpark

    I really enjoy hanging out at Pearl Street. The bars, patios, basement are a lot of fun. The food’s pretty good and the staff is nice and friendly. I actually had my wedding rehearsal dinner in the basement bar and it was great. For some reason the beer seems to be going downhill. I’m wondering if there’s been a change in brewmaster? Is the new place going to have the same brews on tap or will they have their own brews? I feel like Buffalo is becoming quite a craft beer town with a much more discerning taste for quality and the new Pan-Am brewery has a chance to wow some people. Hopefully they come through.

  • Millz88

    I stopped in for dinner this past Tuesday. I’d say the food is a step above Pearl St. It’s a better quality, in my opinion. The bartender told us they will be brewing beer specifically for Pan Am Grill. As of now, they are serving beers from Pearl St as it will take a few weeks for the new beers to be ready. The place is massive and the restoration work is unbelievable. It close in size to Pearl St. It’s difficult to imagine both of these places being filled to capacity. I’d fear the Pan Am Grill will drain Pearl St’s client base. Overall, an awesome place.

  • hrhartmans

    I had dinner at Pan-Am last night. While the experience was lovely, I am glad to hear it was a soft-opening. There are a few elements that still need fine tuning. The lighting seemed strange (too dark, then too bright), there are no TVs, minimal decorating, and the food wasn’t amazing. All the dishes we ordered either had too much sauce or were too dry, and certainly didn’t wow. I would say it is on par with the Pearl St – not great, but fine. However, the service was excellent, and they are clearly trying to make Pan-Am a place people really enjoy. I would definitely recommend it – if just to see how gorgeous the restored hotel is.

  • LouisTully

    Must be a ton of average palettes out there because last everytime I checked, the tables are full.

  • Rand503

    It looks like a private club for people who don’t belong to private clubs.

  • townline

    Holy moly, it looks fabulous!

  • RaChaCha

    The space looks awesome! In 2006 — the weekend of the surprise storm, actually — I somehow made it to Buffalo for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Canal Society of NYS. It was held at the Lafayette Tap Room, as that was the spot where the Society was formed (oh the things that happen over a beer in Buffalo). The last of the original founders, Henry Baxter, joined us. After everyone ate, I gave an impromptu tour of the architecture, including the hotel lobby. At that time, everything looked shabby or worse. Now? Awesome!
    Tip to Pearl Street: you have GOT TO GET your beer & cheese soup on the menu at Pan-Am! That alone will be incentive for many working downtown to pop over on their lunch hour when Pearl Street is too far away. Trust me on this one.
    Also, no offense intended, but no matter what you call it I will continue to call this place the Lafayette Tap Room!
    Rock on & best wishes!

  • Arch

    I need to eat here…

  • Lego1981

    Gorgeous place, stopped in yesterday for lunch and it was a packed out. I like the set up, one area is sit down, bar is seperatated, and in the next room are booths. Very nice!

  • ladyinwhite

    Stunning interior. But yes the food is average at best. Burgers and onion rings. Big woop. So many fine restaurants in town with more befitting menus for this high caliber space.

  • ladyinwhite

    Stunning interior. But yes the food is average at best. Burgers and onion rings. Big woop. So many fine restaurants in town with more befitting menus for this high caliber space.

  • LouisTully

    Great comments ought to be posted twice. Good call.

  • paulsobo

    Absolutely gorgeous interior….it really raises high hopes for the Statler to be more than mediocre.
    It appears as though this is a 4star restaurant from the looks but I wouldnt expect the food to live up to the ambiance.

  • ladyinwhite

    I agree…I see yours aren’t!

  • ladyinwhite

    Yup. Average people for average burgers. You nailed it as usual.

  • LouisTully

    I don’t understand how there are so many comments declaring the quality of food to be so poor. If burgers and onion rings are the genre you can’t compare it with Lombardo’s or Tempo. If you’re in jeans and a t-shirt a casual dining restaurant fits the bill, whether it’s in an old warehouse on the west side or an architectural marvel. If a 4 star restaurant didn’t choose a location somehow the current tenant becomes inferior? Don’t go there. Tully’s on N.F. Blvd might work for you.

  • LI2Northpark

    I think what people are saying is that the looks of the place blow them away and they were expecting the same from the menu. I feel the same way about the beer, but I’m a beer geek. Either way, it looks great and more restaurants downtown are a good thing. Sometimes menus develop over time.


    “Yup. Average people for average burgers. You nailed it as usual.”
    Spoken like an average person!

  • The Boss

    Stopped in and the place is amazing to look at and I’m sure they are not done, some spot on comments here, the lighting needs to be tweaked, some area rugs and fabrics might help the wild acoustics, and the food is just not going to be reason people go, same as Pearl St. I was wising the menu might be temporary but don’t think it will be the case…saucy (BBQ seemed to be on everything), salty,plates are crowded, and menu is too all over the place. I just couldn’t tell what the heck they are. Staff is friendly and plentiful,lots of people in the place but felt empty, it is just huge.

  • The Boss

    Casual food is fine Louis Tully but give me something to crave and talk about. Make it memorable, make it from fresh ingredients, there is a huge difference. All I could imagine is that the kitchen is full of minimum wage 18-21 year olds just plopping it on a plate. BUT, so many places do this it is not that big of a deal, just another missed opportunity to be great. I would imagine a true Regional-American menu would be the calling here. Sounds harsh, but really, the place is just spectacular and owners did a great job here, I’ll be drinking lots of beer in this place.

  • longgone

    Dear lord the websites for both the hotel and grill are horrible.

  • yellowed

    Ate there with friends last night. I had the “Hunter” pizza which had bison and duck on it. It was very good. Also had a bite of my friend’s steak, it was cooked properly and tasted great. The plate was not overcrowded. My friends enjoyed the coconut curry wings they got for an ap, and the one of us that ordered french onion soup said it was delicious as well. Our drinks were well made and pretty fairly priced.
    After dinner we wandered over to Mike A’s for another drink, the menu looks well thought out and executed and my friends were all very pleased with their cocktails. My Gibson lacked the required onion that makes it a Gibson and not merely a garnish-less martini (they don’t have them yet) but was good nonetheless. For two places that just opened they are doing a great job. Wish I could say the same for Liberty Hound.

  • EB_Blue

    Typical Buffalo. It will never change!
    We need to get of the preservationists because they stop EVERYTHING.
    There’s nothing to do downtown. Ever since they put that choo-choo train on Main Street it’s all gone downhill. It’s a ghost town.
    Woe is me. Woe is Buffalo. Why can’t we be more like Charlotte and Phoenix?

  • TranspoGuy

    No TVs? How dare they construct a period bar without televisions.

  • GinghamQuaker

    Have you been to the restaurant yet? Everything the poster said is spot on. I have a lot of hope for the place, and I know it will be a successful and fun place to spend an evening downtown. But the lighting is bizarre right now, and there is a ton of empty wall space. Pearl Street has dozens of tv’s so I don’t know why it is absurd to suggest that the place could benefit from adding a few.

  • TranspoGuy

    No, but I hope to check it out soon. I also don’t think every restaurant in the world needs televisions. Especially not one as ornate as this.

  • LouisTully

    Check out DBGB’s. They do blues, jazz, everything. I’m sure there are other places, that’s just the one I’ve seen recently.