My wife and I are always on the hunt for great lunch spots around town. Not only the new ones that continue to pop up on a weekly basis, but others that have been around for years. Until the other day, we had never eaten at Conlon’s Bar & Grill. I had always heard that it was a great place to grab a beer, but never heard much about the food, which is unfortunate. That’s because we had one of the best lunches to date.
Not only did we have one of the best lunches in a while, we also had excellent service. Since we were there at an off hour, we decided to sit at the bar and chat it up with the bartender. Her name was Alicia, and she made sure that our experience was perfect in every way.
To start, we were not expecting the extensive menu that was handed to us. There was so much to choose from, and it all sounded delightful. Alicia told us that we were in for a real treat, because the owner was cooking and they were all his original recipes. That’s all we needed to hear. She also told us that the toasted ravioli with marinara sauce was a must. My wife thought that the spinach and artichoke dip baked in a cream cheese sauce (served with house made potato chips) sounded good. She also opted for the open-faced pot roast sandwich with jalapeño cornbread, topped with pepperjack cheese (served with mashed potatoes and homemade gravy). I decided to try the hot cheddar corned beef sandwich (served on a pretzel roll with spicy mustard). If it sounds like a lot of food, it was… but we were super hungry.
What wings are to Buffalo, the toasted ravioli is to St. Louis (where the owner hails from). They were perfectly crisped and super flavorful. Perfect finger food to start the meal. The spinach and artichoke dip was cooked to perfection – what could easily be a gut bomb turned out to be the highlight of the meal. The homemade chips actually came out warm, not over-fried and perfectly seasoned… it was a miracle because this is so easy to mess up – we see it time after time. The pot roast was fork tender and the mashed potatoes and gravy rounded out another star plate. My wife is heading back for the same dish once the weather cools.
She wasn’t a big fan of the cornbread, but I thought that it was tasty. For me, the corned beef was exceptional – the perfect size sandwich, super tender, and the pretzel roll was the perfect complement. The house ‘hot’ hot sauce was very unusual, with a hint of sweetness. Once again, my wife wasn’t a fan, but I couldn’t get enough as I continually dipped my sandwich into the ramekin.
Overall, we can’t say enough about the food at this South Buffalo pub. There’s so much more on the menu that we can’t wait to try.
I remember when Conlon’s first opened. A BRO writer at the time was fascinated by the personalized pewter beer steins that hung on the back bar. At the time, it was all the rage. Alicia told us that it’s still all the rage, and that there are 992 customers waiting to get their own mugs. At the moment, there are only 180 mugs on the wall, but the owner is in the process of building more shelves to accommodate a fraction of the demand. Those who are lucky enough to have their own mug ($50 for the mug and $10 a month fee) are able to take advantage of draught beer specials. “People love their mugs,” said Alicia.
Aside from great food, and happy beer lovers, Conlon’s has different special draws every night that they are open – from trivia night to fish fry Firday. This is a wonderful neighborhood spot. It’s also worth the short trip from wherever you are at this moment (if you’re lucky enough to live in Buffalo).
We have added Conlon’s to our list of favorite places to eat and drink in the city. One day, after all other 992 customers have their own mugs hanging on the wall, I hope to also climb the ranks of fame at the pub and throw back a few draughts in my own shiny beer vessel.