The Wanakah Grill is situated off a main street not far from The Wanakah Country Club at 2293 Pleasant Avenue. The brick exterior with a large fireplace outdoors immediately made me wish we were visiting for the first time in the spring or summer. Behind the restaurant there is an area where tables can be set up outside and it looks like a great place to enjoy a summer night.
Once you get inside, it's an inviting space that has a very "neighborhood hangout" feel to it. One wall is dedicated to All Western New York athletes which really caught my attention.
The sign told us to find a seat, so we found a table and caught the waitress' attention. She said she would be with us in a minute, but unfortunately it took her almost 10 minutes to check in with us and take our drink orders. 10 minutes later she came back with our drinks and took our orders. The menu is small (in total there are less than 15 items). They have a handful of wraps, wings, fingers, a fish fry on Fridays and dinner specials each night; Thursday's special was a meat loaf dinner. We settled on a bowl of soup - roasted red pepper bisque, a chef salad, a large order of the chicken fingers (made fresh daily) with fries and a chicken Caesar wrap.
It didn't take long for the soup to come out (and the soup was absolutely delicious), but the soup came and went and we still hadn't been brought our salad. Our waitress kept telling us it would be out in a minute but it didn't get to the table for about 15 minutes, and then our dinners came out a minute later. The salad was small and underwhelming for the long wait, but the chicken fingers looked amazing so I dug right into them. They didn't disappoint! The fingers were crispy, just the way I like them, and the BBQ sauce was delicious. The fries were good too! Geoffrey said his wrap just okay, and he too was underwhelmed by the salad.
The prices are on par with most bar/grills in WNY, and it is definitely a place you can take the family to and not break the bank.
I spoke with one of the owners of the restaurant, Jim Healy, prior to coming out to try it, and what really made me want to get out there was the fact that opening this restaurant was really a whole community effort. When the owners (Jim Healy & Jim Rath) purchased the space in March of 2011, it needed a lot of renovations and work before opening. The residents of the area came out in full force to help with cleaning, painting and renovating.
"Jim Rath and I always thought we could make a run at having a local place that had good food, sports and some history. We only would have done this in our town where we have a good base of friends and family." Jim Healy said.
I was only in there for a couple of hours, but you could tell there were many locals who were catching up and enjoying a few drinks with friends. They have a handful of big flat screen tvs for sporting events and a fully stocked bar.
While they are a new place (officially opened in October 2011), and have some kinks to work out, it's a place to try and support local WNYers. I spoke with Jim Healy after our visit and he assured me that service problems would be promptly attended to and was thankful for the feedback.
For more reviews on The Wanakah Grill check out: