A little over a month ago, I posted on the opening of The Rose Bar & Grille in Downtown Buffalo. At the time, I spoke to Latisa “Lisa” Roosevelt on the phone, upon which time she told me about all of her plans and desires for the restaurant. This past weekend, I paid a visit to the restaurant with a buddy of mine, to see firsthand how her operation was going. I was especially interested to see how well she was utilizing the space, which is rather large. At the same time, the bones of the restaurant were already in place, which means that Lisa didn’t have to start from scratch – she already had a fantastic floor plan to work with, including a giant bar, and virtually limitless seating.
Upon walking in, we ran into a couple of friends who were attending a retirement party. They directed us to Chris Roosevelt, Lisa’s husband, who was helping out at the restaurant. Chris told us that the restaurant space was a dream come true. Aside from a nice crowd of regulars, they were also capitalizing on private parties. In fact, there was a birthday party underway in the back as we spoke.
It wasn’t long before we spotted Lisa, who was busy chatting up the customers, many of whom she was familiar with. In my previous post, Lisa said that her goal was to make every customer feel like the most important person in the establishment. She was undoubtedly living up to those words. When she wasn’t helping out behind the bar, she was helping her servers, and in-between she was making sure that she was available to the customers who were all very happy to have a new place to hang out and socialize. At one point, we got a chance to congratulate Lisa on her new venture, upon which time she recounted how she and Chris came across the building and the unique restaurant space.
After talking to Lisa, we sat at the bar, ordered a couple of drinks, and chatted with the bartenders – Lindsay and Edward. While the two appeared to have their hands full, they made sure that we were taken care of. Before long, I suggested that we try some of the food, which we had heard good things about. So we ordered a couple of the bar basics, to split – a beef on weck sandwich, and a single order of parmesan garlic chicken wings.
The beef on weck was served a touch below “medium” (chef’s choice), with a side of au jus for dipping. The meat was cooked perfectly, the roll was nicely salted, and the au jus made for a delicious meal. Unfortunately there was no accompanying horseradish, but the rest of the dish was so good that we didn’t mind. The fries that came with the beef on weck were some of the best in Buffalo – not too thin, not too thick, crispy, and cooked in fresh oil. They were bountiful and delicious. The wings were also cooked to our liking. Other than one bizarre looking “round” that stood out from the rest and hand no “handle”, we gobbled up the wings. I ate all of the rounds, while my friend actually preferred the flats (wingettes). It’s always good to have a dining companion that likes the flats more than the rounds. While I can’t wrap my head around it, I can certainly appreciate it!
Overall, our dining experience at The Rose Bar & Grille was excellent. From the service to the atmosphere, the place had it all going on. I especially like walking into an establishment that looks upscale, but is actually very down to earth. The bar food was great, and reasonably priced. This is also the type of place that would be perfect for family dining, because there’s a kids’ menu, with free non-alcohol beverage refills. Wednesdays are considered “Primetime” featuring prime rib, and then there’s Seafood Fridays with fried/beer battered fish and shrimp dinners.
I’m rooting for The Rose Bar & Grille because I know that a restaurant this size cannot be easy to fill on a regular basis (especially early on). But between the solid menu, the warm welcome, private parties, and a patio (coming soon), I think that Lisa and Chris have figured out a formula that will work. I know that I will do my part, which won’t be hard, because I’m already looking forward to heading back for a Friday fish fry.
The Rose Bar and Grill | 199 Scott Street inside the Fairmont Building | (716) 424-2007 | Facebook
If you happen to be stopping by later today (Wednesday, April 17), there’s a “Watch Party” for Venzella Joy (Beyonce’ Drummer), who happens to hail from Buffalo. The party starts at 7pm – see Facebook event for details.