This past weekend, I managed to not only stop by the new Tewksbury Lodge once, but twice. The first time (Friday evening) I was so impressed with what I saw, that I gathered some friends together to stop by again on Sunday. During my initial visit, I was happy to come across Kristin Rose (Old First Ward Brewery) who had been brought onboard to run the restaurant. Kristin explained to me that the lodge was open for lunch Wednesday through Friday (11am to 2pm) as well as for brunch (and lunch) on Saturday and Sunday (10am to 2pm). The lodge was also open on Friday evenings for dinner, from 5pm to 10pm.
After getting the hours of operation straight, Kristin toured me through the kitchen, which was shockingly large and filled with all sorts of big time cooking amenities. Kristin explained that one of the lodge’s big draws was private events and banquets. Being situated on the Buffalo River, the lodge was in high demand for all sorts of functions, including weddings. Aside from the tremendous kitchen layout, I also found that the banquet hall/dining room was quite substantial. “Anthony Marone is our chef, recently from Joseph’s,” Kristin told me. “Peg Overdorf modeled the lodge to look like an old train depot, honoring the history of the site.”
There was plenty of seating for larger events, or for Friday evening dinners. Plus, Kristin told me that the liquor license for the lodge extended throughout the entire River Fest Park, which means that visitors can stop in and order a beer and then take it outside and walk around freely. That’s a big draw for people in the summertime who want to sit out on the boardwalk, have a cocktail, and watch the sun set. It’s also perfect for events such as concerts.
The Tewksbury Lodge was named after the freighter (Michael K. Tewksbury) that demolished the Michigan Street Bridge on January 21, 1959. It turns out that the incident was not the Tewksbury’s fault however. An even larger freighter called MacGilvray Shiras broke free and smashed into the Tewksbury, which in turn careened into the bridge, causing massive damage and flooding to the Old First Ward (see here).
Today the Tewksbury disaster is being recognized for its dramatic role in shaping the history and the future of the Buffalo River. Much of what helped to shape our waterfront has come in the form of good and bad news – the fact that we are able to embrace it all, and tell the stories (good and bad) is what makes Buffalo a more intriguing and more resilient place to live. This city has made it through countless incidents and disasters, making it a bit more rough and tumble than others.
The Buffalo River, once considered a dead river, has now become a symbol of this city’s rebirth. Not only are industrial remnants being reused (RiverWorks), new buildings are also popping up. The river has become a hot spot for boaters, kayakers, and tourists. The clean air (no longer yellow with the fumes of Bethlehem Steel), and the cleaner water, draws countless numbers of visitors to the water’s edge. Now The Tewksbury Lodge is capitalizing on this growth.
For those interested in stopping by for lunch, the lodge offers six burgers, six wraps, six sandwiches, all sorts of brunch fare, Old First Ward favorites such as corned beef hash and eggs, salads and a kid’s menu. The Friday dinner menu boasts poutine, a classic fish fry, five salads, a bunch of sandwich offerings, and a kid’s menu. Kristin told me that the chef was a tried, tested and true hand in the kitchen, and that the offerings go far and beyond simple pub-style food.
The waterfront now offers something for everyone. For those who want to whoop it up, there are destinations like RiverWorks. Then there are the places that are a bit more low key and neighborhood friendly. If you’re looking for the latter, The Tewksbury Lodge is the place for you.
The Tewksbury Lodge | Buffalo River Fest Park | 249 Ohio Street | Buffalo, New York | Indoor and outdoor restaurant seating | Facebook | Bike lanes on Ohio Street