Day Three Recap by Tom Przybylak
Day Three. Is this still a thing?
Lets start with a downtown middle management lunch stalwart. Just Pizza (8) almost got overrun by the small yet apparently popular Klimek’s Tavern (9) in North Tonawanda. The score was close enough that I took the time to google Klimek’s Tavern and see how far away they were, so that I could put them on my radar the next time I go to North Tonawanda for a concert, or when I have a really far trip and need to get to the really big Greyhound station. I used to eat Just Pizza a lot when I worked downtown because they usually had a variety of slices and it was really cheap and within walking distance. If I was very hungry and didn’t want to seem like a slob, I’d ask for my third slice of pizza in a separate box, and make up a name for them to write on it, so it seemed like I was ordering for two people. “Hey, that last slice of steak and pepper pizza and single wing? Can you write LARRY on it and put it in a separate bag?” But I think a lot of people did that, and that is why I’m surprised that they barely squeeked by against a virtual unknown. I wonder how they’re fair in the second round, and I can’t wait for an excuse to go to North Tonawanda, and to get to eat somewhere that doesn’t cook their food via gimmicky civil war paddleboat wheels.
The old newcomer to the First Ward and underdog, Adolf’s (10) put Sawyer Creek Hotel (7) of North Tonawanda to bed, creating a considerable upset by this virtual unknown, and our first upset of the tournament. Sawyer Creek is an old neighborhood standby, and has been there over a hundred years. Adolf’s is almost as old, having opened originally in 1934 and reopening in 2014 in response to the recent renaissance of The First Ward. They’ve only had the kitchen open for four months and run a small ten item menu, but apparently the wings are great. I haven’t had a chance to sample the food yet, but I can say that it’s a fine spot to stop in and have a pint on your way to or from a Sabre’s game. It will be interesting to see if Adolf’s can hold their ground into the next round…
Elmo’s (2) vs. Conlons (15):
Well I for one expected Conlons to at least get a couple rounds deep. Getting matched against one of the top seeded favorites was unfortunate. This South Buffalo standby has been putting out solid wings and beers for a long time. I’ve absolutely strategerized local politics at this bar before and have always enjoyed their wings. Elmo’s, on the other hand, is such a unicorn to me. So many people love it there, and it is likely backed by a legion of loyal UB student athletes that live on twitter so I know it has a big spot at this table, but it’s alway so… weird. Every time I go in there, the same regulars (who always seem to be celebrating someone’s birthday) screetch the record needle when new people come in, the draft beers selection is pretty limited, and the rug should have been replaced years ago. The wings are pretty good I think, but I always end up ordering some weird mix of Cajun Grilled and medium sauced Jeff Biesinger swears by, that I can’t get into. Donnie mentioned something about a “double dank” style that made him a believer. I guess I’ll have to go back there and just order some normal wings and see what the deal is. Maybe while I’m up that way I should re-register for college and finish that MBA I left swinging in the wind.
Duff’s (1) vs. The Boston Hotel (16). Well, First seeded Duff’s performed exactly as expected, and they will likely dominate rounds right up to the end. With those wooden bone bowls and fancy ads with multiple locations, Duff’s became a “real Buffalonian’s” place to get wings. It became the place that we send people when they ask about Anchor Bar. They bring those XL deli cups of blue cheese with extra hunks in them because they know we’re just going to use the extended crispy skin nub on the flats to scoop the errant pieces like rescuing trapped Chilean miners. With that said, here’s my problem with Duff’s… and this is MY problem. I always order wrong. Every time I order my wings, they come floating in sauce. Not crispy, just sort of cooked and floating. What am I doing wrong? I KNOW there is a way to order them where they come out, and they’re crispy and perfectly sauced… but I’m not asking the right questions. The same thing happened to me in Amsterdam once – not in regard to Chicken Wings – but you deal with the hand you are dealt. Now lets talk about Boston Hotel. With a location on Genesee Street and the rebuilt spot in actual Boston – they have some great wings there. But wings are always an afterthought. What you really go there for is to eat all of the seafood that you normally only find at good lawn fetes, but you can get it there all year round. We are talking Lobster Dainties, Shrimp Cocktail, raw and steamed clams. That’s what I think of when I think Boston Hotel. Now I’ve had the wings there – and they are excellent! But it’s hard to not go there and just eat piles of clams casino and Oysters Rockefeller. So… how am I ordering wrong at Duffs?