It seems as if every city should have a “Station House” bar or restaurant. When I first heard that The Station House (also called Buffalo Station House) was opening in the former Snooty Fox, I wondered if this would be the type of place for first respondents to hang out, or if it was more of a gimmicky type of restaurant. After spending a couple of hours hanging out last Thursday with a buddy of mine, I believe I’ve got a much better grasp about what exactly is going down at the establishment.
First of all, Buffalo Station House is not owned by any police officers or firefighters, but the owners do have a number of friends in those departments. Before entering, I wasn’t quite sure if everyone was going to look at me wondering, police or fire? Or if I would find myself walking around, looking at people, and wondering police or fire? It turned out that, while there is a definitely an ever-present theme going on, it doesn’t necessarily transcend to the customers. My buddy actually looks a bit like a firefighter, so he fit right in with the ambiance.
Instead of poking around right off the bat, looking at all of the first responder memorabilia on the walls, we took up a couple of seats at the bar. Fortunately, the guy sitting next to us turned out to be an off duty… bartender, who was more than happy to talk about the place. He was happily eating a plate of fiery-hot looking wings, which is how I struck up the conversation with him. He told me that since opening there has been a great response, partially because of the incredible bar food prepared by Daniel Fino who came from Mulberry in Lackawanna, and partially because of the nature of the bar. He pointed out that there was a coffee station set up towards the front that was free for on-duty first responders. Apparently this has been a big hit with police and fire figures, who are not only happy to indulge in the free offerings, they also like that the establishment is dedicated to the public servants that lay their lives out on the line every day of the week.
There’s a side benefit to drawing law enforcers into an establishment, which I’m sure you have guessed. Buffalo Station House is the last place in Buffalo that anyone would want to cause trouble. That’s right. If you’re looking for peace and order, you’re going to find it here. You’re also going to find the hottest wings in the city. The menu features a “6 Alarm Fire Wing Challenge” – if a customer finishes 6 of these “insanely” hot wings in 20 minutes or under, with sauce featuring the hottest peppers in the world, he or she gets a free pitcher of domestic beer and a glass of milk. Apparently only one person has completed the challenge since opening three weeks ago.
Aside from the incredible looking wings, the biggest hit on the menu is the buffalo chicken-stuffed banana pepper. “You just can’t beat it,” said Fino, who also told us that lunch was starting as early as today, and a Bloody Mary-centric brunch is coming soon.
If you’re intrigued by the subculture of the fire and police community, then you’re going to be a big fan of the Buffalo Station House. The walls are loaded with all sorts of interesting objects and articles of interest. There’s everything from the hood of a sheriff’s car to a rack of police and fire jackets and coats. There’s also a wall that commemorates the lives of fallen first responders, which is a heavy reminder about the men and women that choose to protect and serve this city, while risking their lives in the process.
While I was not so sure about Buffalo Station House at first, I have now come around to be a fan. It’s not a hokey place at all – instead it’s an inspiring tribute to first responders. It’s certainly not your “every day” Buffalo establishment, which is refreshing. And if we can’t get a brewery in a station house on the Lower West Side because of NIMBYs, then at least we can get a bar/eatery dedicated to the firefighters and police officers that serve this city. And if you’re wondering what day you can find first responders hanging out and having fun, try Station Sunday at Buffalo Station House – it’s a day of the week dedicated to those in “the industry”.
Buffalo Station House | 445 Delaware Avenue | Buffalo, New York 14202 | (716) 783-8013 | Facebook