A Tale of Two Restaurants

Buffalo’s Anchor Bar

After our recent marriage, with numerous new in-laws in town, my wife and I postponed any honeymoon to a later date. However we did hit the road with said in-laws in tow.

There we were, a small army of ten people ranging in age from four to 77, on our way in a two-car convoy from Montreal to southern Ontario.  Like any army, as the old saying goes, this one marched on its stomach.  Which brings me to the first oddity of our trek.

We arrived in Toronto in mid-afternoon. I have often found Canada’s largest city to be a paradox; they seem to spend more time telling you they are a ‘world class city’ then actually acting like one.  After getting our bearings, the search began for a suitable restaurant. I was meeting an old friend for dinner, so we needed a place that could accommodate nine diners. The first place we found that had a sufficiently varied menu – one member of the group being vegetarian – and appeared to have several free tables insisted they could not seat a party of nine. I found this strange that a half-empty restaurant would turn away nine paying customers rather than push together a couple of tables. Did they have a problem with the fact that Spanish was the language of this group?  Business must be much better than it appears. Fortunately the second establishment, Canteen, was  much more welcoming.

Toronto’s Canteen

The visitors had heard that Buffalo was, not surprisingly, the place for Buffalo wings. So the next day after viewing Niagara Falls we crossed the border into New York in search of wings. The border crossing took some time as several members of the entourage were in need of visas. But we all made it through and continued our quest.

A simple inquiry to Siri and we were directed to Anchor Bar, a place that claims to be the originator of the Buffalo Wing. I have a hunch there may be a few places laying claim to that, but this was fine with us. We arrived at about 8:30 pm and the place, in a pretty desolate part of Buffalo, was packed. Given our experience of the previous day, I was doubtful we would get in.

I strode up to the nice lady at the podium and asked about the possibility of a table for ten. Without batting an eyelash she apologized and told me we would have to wait for about twenty minutes. There was no problem with that, the bar served very cold pints of beer at the rock-bottom price of $4 each (a break from paying tourist prices – the fee to ascend the CN Tower is $35; I gave it a pass), and after about 15 minutes we were shown to our table. No reservation, no advance warning, kids and adults, Spanish and English all posed no problem. And the food and service were great.

I could not help but contrast this experience with the one in Toronto the day before.


DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Restaurants

  1. You do have to wonder what the REAL reason was. It could, sadly, be as simple as pure laziness and not wanting to deal with such a big group (though you’d think they’d want the money and tips, wouldn’t you) … and then, maybe it’s just what you think it is.

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