Interview: Dino Pinelli (Charlie O’Briens)


It’s no secret that my love of ethnic cuisine, quality food and supporting local restaurants has been influenced by several of my friends. Dino’s love of Buffalo, has been an inspiration for myself and for Buffalo Eats.

Case in point: He has a tattoo of city hall on his right forearm.

He truly supports Buffalo businesses like no other person I have personally met.  His company buys from local businesses, he only goes out to eat at local independent restaurants, he supports local arts and clothing stores.  He really is “Mr. Buffalo” and because of him, Buffalo Eats tries (for the most part) to showcase only independently owned restaurants.

Dino is also the co-owner of one of my favorite restaurants in Buffalo, Charlie O’Briens and a proud member of the Buffalo First Organization.  I figured a man who only eats from local restaurants and knows virtually everyone in the restaurant industry, would be a great nominee for Buffalo Foodies.  Here is what Dino had to say about his favorite places in Buffalo…

What are some of your favorite restaurants in Buffalo?

Dino: With all the amazing places to eat in this city, this is a really tough question and I deal with this decision daily. My favorite breakfast is Amys Place.  The great food, amazing staff, and the fun atmosphere always keeps me coming back. If its a quick bite, I will flip a coin and choose from Ted’s, Louie’s, NY Pizza on Allen, or Zetti’s. I love the sandwiches from the Caz Coffee Cafe as well; their Caz Casino is my favorite.

As far as going out to eat a dinner, it gets even more difficult. I frequent Allen St Hardware Cafe; I love their bread basket, cheese board, sandwiches, and there’s always some kind of rocking special. I’m a huge fan of the Stuffed Peppers and Chicken Marsala at Cecelias. My new favorite restaurant is Juniper on Elmwood and once word really gets out about this place I fear it will be impossible to get a table. The Chicken Budapest, and the Chicken Sausage dishes are all I have tried so far, but I’m dying to get back for more.

Finally, being the pizza freak I am, i really enjoy grabbing a beer and a Pizza at Campieris Gourmet Pizza on Main. It’s comfortable and the pizza is out of this world. They offer close to 50 different types of pizza and while I would like to say I will eventually conquer them all, it is so hard to move onto the next one. Oh, and the eggplant fries are unreal.

What kinds of food did you grow up on?

Dino: Looking back mom really did a lot of cooking.  That is until us kids got jobs and then we started to order out all of the time. We had everything you could ask for in good home cooking: stuffed pork chops, meatloaf, chicken of all sorts, and lots of Italian. There was always sauce available. With a big pot of sauce being cooked routinely, there was always some in the freezer.

Where is your favorite place to grab a drink?

Dino: This is a tough question to answer too; so many great places to go. Ultimately I like to follow the music, and that helps me to decide. Most of the time you can find me at Nietzsche’s, Staples, or Soundlab. I think the best Jukebox is Faherty’s on Elmwood; it’s a very comfortable place with cool bartenders. Roxys is always a blast.  A combination of the people, the music, and the bartenders is just great. But even after all of those bars, my favorite bar is the Pink, anytime of day…however catching up with everyone at 3:30 am rocks.

What would you like Buffalo to have more of?

Dino: I think Buffalo, for its size , represents most cuisines pretty well. There  really is something for everyone. So that being said, let’s discuss beer! There is no reason why every establishment in Buffalo does not serve a Flying Bison product. Its made in our backyard and its GOOD! I have noticed the success of Rusty Chain, but I would like to see more. Also, there are some great bars with crappy beer selections. I would like to see more of the local approach, Flying Bison, Souther Tier, EBC, as well as other great breweries like Great Lakes, Dogfish Head, Rooster Fish…I could go on and on. People know their beer in Buffalo so it’s a good investment.


Buffalo Eats would like to thank Dino for taking time out of his business schedule, and I HIGHLY encourage all of our readers to go and try out a meal at Charlie O’Briens.  It’s been featured several times on our site along with being featured on True Blue Buffalo and Buffalo Rising.  It’s a great place to grab a drink, enjoy some of their Charlie Style Chicken Wings (they are battered, don’t be afraid) and do it all for really affordable prices.

Charlie O’Briens is located on 865 Elk St, in South Buffalo.

9 thoughts on “Interview: Dino Pinelli (Charlie O’Briens)

  • October 15, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I have visited many of places with Dino and I can say he truly supports the local businesses in the Buffalo area…And for Charlie O’Briens, Dino’s place, it doesnt get much better than that. Always a fun and friendly atmosphere with reasonable prices. Most of all, you can walk in for your first time and feel like a regular there…

  • October 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Charlie O’Briens could be my favorite bar in Buffalo. Food and drinks at great prices, all served in a very friendly, comfortable atmosphere. Dino will serve you right….

  • October 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    Donnie, I forget, is Charlie O’Brien’s the place you guys took me to this summer? I have been craving those wings since I’ve been back in NC, please send me some in the mail!

    • October 15, 2009 at 11:11 pm

      hah yes it was and i’m on it.

  • October 16, 2009 at 3:02 am

    I thought this was a joke at first but now I realize it isn’t. So south buffalo is the shit and if you don’t visit charlie O’s your a dumb [edit].

    • October 16, 2009 at 8:14 pm

      what was a joke? also, dont use derogatory terms, thanks.

  • October 20, 2009 at 1:37 am

    i hate everything i eat everywhere
    i love everything i eat at charlie’s.
    it is always absolutely perfect.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *