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The Phoenix – An American Tavern

It’s rare when I come across a new restaurant in a building that I was previously unfamiliar with. So often a restaurant owner opts to move into a space that has had previous successes for a number of reasons – notoriety, equipment, primary uses, locations, etc. For these reasons, we tend to see restaurant spaces recirculated over and over. When a new one pops up out of the blue, it can be very exciting… I love to see fresh concepts added to the roadmap of Buffalo’s restaurant scene. 
Last Thursday The Phoenix opened in Black Rock. I had been checking out the developments on the rather obscure location for a while, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that the place was ready to open. Until that night, I had never seen the interior of the building, which meant that I had no preconceived notions as to what might be inside. Apparently there had been a neighborhood bar inside at one point called Ed and Joe’s. But the place had been closed for years, with nothing going on other than a fire that almost led the the demolition of the structure – you can still see some of the charred remains… now it’s called character. Needless to say, the condition of the building was pretty beat. 
Fortunately the owner of the building decided to be proactive and reached out to the restaurant community, and before long restaurateur Mary Logue (with the help of other friends in the restaurant community) was on her way to creating a new restaurant concept. The name ‘The Phoenix’ pays tribute to the Black Rock neighborhood, the building (that once caught fire) and the ultimate rise of the restaurant in a location that many would have never guessed would be home to such a venture. I’d like to think that there’s a City of Buffalo reference in there too. 
The interior of The Phoenix is fresh and inviting, with wood floors and wall beams, tin ceilings, brass bar rails, brick and stone design accents, comfortable bar and restaurant seating, and plenty of space to accommodate both drinking and dining crowds – all of the things that make for a quality tavern atmosphere. In fact, the amount of workable space is impressive – for the size of the restaurant, the various seating vignettes allow for a number of dining possibilities. And come spring, The Phoenix will unveil a dramatic back patio. 
As for the food, the Logue Family has done a fine job in bringing some delicious comfort food to the neighborhood. My friend described the dinner fare as “approachable”. I found that to be true, as we sat down to enjoy plates that ranged from banana pepper dip to polenta fries… and a mac and cheese mini skillet and an order of flat bread. All of the starters and sides were spot on, with lots of flavor and generous portions. My favorite was the banana pepper dip. The two winning dinners were the crispy grilled salmon ($17) and the short rib grilled cheese ($16). My salmon was cooked to perfection, and the warm Asian slaw on top was refreshing and delicious. For the first night in business, food at The Phoenix was impressive.
The bar staff at The Phoenix is superb as well. Super friendly, knowledgable, and dressed the part. If you’re not planning on eating dinner, The Phoenix is a nice change of pace to meet up with friends. Don’t expect a large TV set for Sabres games however. There is a tiny TV behind the bar, but if you weren’t looking for it, you probably wouldn’t even know that it was there. This is the closest that most any bar comes to not have a TV set – another welcome change. 
There is plenty of free parking on the side of the building (at the neighboring gate company) and in back. The facade of the restaurant sports a nicely lit metal sign, which was  fabricated just down the road at EB Ironart (Atlas Steel). The Phoenix is situated at the intersection of Amherst Street and Military Road – a corner that has loads of potential and is just a few doors down from Barry’s Bar and Grill (more great food and excellent place to watch a Sabres game). 
The opening of The Phoenix ties in nicely with all of the other establishments that have been creating a buzz on the street as of late, including the super-sized The Sportsmens Tavern, and the opening of Black Rock Kitchen and Bar, and Rohall’s Corner. Not to mention other mainstays like Casey’s and The Viking Lobster Company (on Tonawanda). Then we can’t forget about Nick’s Place, The Kitchen Table and Delish… that’s some good company to be in. The next time that you’re looking for some good food and drinks, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere, be sure to stop into The Phoenix… An American Tavern in Buffalo, NY.
The Phoenix – An American Tavern
269 Amherst Street
Buffalo NY 14207
Open Tues-Sun 5pm

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is ‘queenseyes’ – Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world’s largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • BuffaloRox

    Very cool. Good to see another building coming back to life. Any word on opening of new brewpub across the street at the former Hilliker’s Pasttime? Pearl Street’s map of its “brewery district” identifies a place called the Black Pearl, which I assume is the new venture.

  • paulsobo

    See, this is not terribly expensive.
    A properly shingled building
    A proper roof (though I cant see it)
    A proper tasteful color
    A proper tree and landscaping
    A maintained sidewalk, curb, street (though I cant see it)
    not to much to ask of anyone for their home or business.

  • Duke1961

    Don’t forget about Barrys’ also! They have been there for years!

  • buffloonitick

    is that why they’re called ‘proper’ties?
    can they still be called ‘proper’ties if they don’t meet the ‘proper’ criteria?
    props to those who maintain their properties…

  • BuffaloRox

    Great lunches. Not just your typical tavern food either.

  • RaChaCha

    This is great! I’ve marched several years in the Rediscover Amherst Street parade, and this section of the street has always looked forlorn. Glad to see changes to that in the works.
    So in the future: shoot a round @ Tee to Green, then buy a round @ The Phoenix–?

  • norwalk

    I was in there Friday night..Awesome! Great atmosphere and staff. Can’t wait to go back for a bite too eat.

  • ivan putski jr

    This could be Buffalo’s Little Five Points with a little more time…..bars, tattoo parlors, interesting characters randomly pushing shopping carts of their belongins by…but The polish platter at Barry’s is always top notch…and the Mellenium clothing boutique across the street is too much….8 Ball leather bomber jackets, incense, knockoff Air Jordan’s, lingerie…beepers…it has it all…on another subject, how the heck does The #1 Kitchen not get closed down?….the food is actually rather good but man they have to be breaking some codes….no heat inside, plastic curtains used for insulation, holes so big going through the side of the building a capybara could squeeze through….but the General Tso is really tasty…Reminds me of what a Chinese restaurant would be like in Russia

  • biniszkiewicz

    you made me laugh about #1 Kitchen. You’re right: There is no heat whatsoever. And the food isn’t even as bad as the competition. But it sure does look like a Russian version of a take out restaurant–shoddy paint, threadbare atmosphere. That poor guy (the owner) works day and night every single day. His wife left him quite a while ago, he told me in broken English, and he raises their six year old daughter himself (and that poor girl is always stuck there in the restaurant with her winter coat on until 10 or so at night. Cute kid. Nice, hard working dad. But damn, some day she’ll write a book about being stuck in her father’s restaurant all night every night . . .)

  • ivan putski jr

    I didn’t know the background of his wife leaving him to raise the kid by himself…that’s depressing….knowing that I may have to start giving him more of my business…because the food really is pretty good…

  • benfranklin

    For all the hard work people put into these projects… would it kill National Fuel to throw the meters around back?


    The Phoenix looks to be a wonderful new addition to the Amherst strip and I can’t wait to get there. If things keep proceeding at this pace, we’ll soon recreate the five bars that once populated this intersection.

  • Sheldon S. Kornpett, D.D.S.

    How are you going to give him more of your business when you live in Charleston?!? This will end badly for all concerned parties, just like the time you decided to save Starseed Enterprise single-handedly.
    “If yer readin’ this while on drugs, yer a fool!” —-Mr. T

  • ForestBird

    With 36% of the surrounding neighborhood (14207) living below “poverty level”, these new bars can’t be counting on local clientele.

  • grad94

    doesn’t that mean that 64% is -not- below the poverty level?
    if people from outside of 14207 spend money there, doesn’t it mean jobs for people who probably do live near the restaurant?

  • ivan putski jr

    It’s always on the short list when in town…after Duffs and Teds .I still have most of those trip discs

  • jwright

    Don Warfe=Midas

  • biniszkiewicz

    is he one of the ‘friends in the restaurant community’ alluded to above?

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  • ForestBird

    It means that 64% are barely above poverty – 14207 is only a little less poor than 14213. Only an idiot would think that 36% poverty is in any way acceptable, or that an overpriced bar belongs in the midst of such poverty.
    Do you really think that anyone from the immediate area will be hired for anything above chopping onions or cleaning the toilets? You have much to learn.

  • Duke1961

    Where is Don Warfe???

  • grad94

    trying to figure out where exactly i claimed that poverty at any rate is acceptable or that restaurants pay a family wage. they don’t. my 1st, 2nd and 3rd jobs were in restaurants paying minimum wage + negligible tips. i was able to move out and support myself, however tenuously, on one of those jobs. eventually i got through school and worked my way into a profession.
    if you have better job prospects for the teenagers of black rock, i am all ears.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Wife and I had dinner at the Phoenix on Friday night, good food and very comfortable atmosphere. The food was of excellent quality and prepared perfectly. We really enjoyed our experience, the staff and owner made us feel welcome, will certainly be returning.