Remember back in 2015, when John Daly came to the rescue of Del Denby’s Tavern on Hertel Avenue? Now, he and his family are doing the same thing for the Washington Square Bar & Grille.
It was only back in August of 2020 when we posted that Washington Square was for sale. At the time, owners Misty and Vincent Spano decided that after 53 years, it was time to hand over the reins to someone else.
That “someone else” turned out to be Daly, who agreed to keep the name of the business intact. The deal officially closed today.
“Vinny liked what we did with Del’s, and wanted someone to keep the name, which was fine with me because everyone knows the place. I couldn’t just watch that old bar die,” said Daly. “The liquor license is still there, and it’s still fully stocked in anticipation of this past St. Patrick’s Day, which never happened because of the pandemic. We want to breathe life back into the building and the business. It’s an iconic sports bar before Sabres games – Vinny told me that they used to serve between 300 and 400 pounds of wings on game days, so we will definitely have wings, but I have a new chef who wants to play around and add some fun new items to the menu. I also have my staff at Del’s that is looking to pick up more hours – we’re going to pool the labor. The staff is very excited to get things going. They’re trying to get me to open for the Super Bowl [laughing]… even though we just closed on the sale today. It just goes to show that they are ambitious and hungry to work.”
As for the building, Daly told me that it’s going to be a phased approach. He’s cleaning the place up and getting it open – that’s the first phase. After that, he’s developing a plan for a broader renovation.
“It’s a beautiful historic building,” he explained. “There was once a banquet space in there, with a balcony overlooking the bar, and two-story glass windows. Then there were 28 boarding rooms that catered to Buffalo’s Vaudeville acts. I want to revive that, possibly as an Airbnb, or a micro hotel.”
Of course this is very welcome news, especially during a pandemic. Knowing that the building (and the business) is in safe and capable hands is more than anyone could have hoped for, or expected.
“We do what we can, and have fun doing it,” added Daly, who is looking to start cleaning up the kitchen immediately, to get the place back open as soon as humanly possible.
Washington Square Bar & Grill, located at 295 Washington Street