December 3, 2022

Before he stepped out on his own at Winfield’s Pub, Tab Daulton wrote the book for some of the biggest kitchens in Western New York. He was the top chef for Delaware North concessions at HSBC Arena, Buffalo’s downtown National Hockey League site. Which is another way to say that he fed more people than just about anyone.
He was responsible for the recipes that Delaware North sold to up to 18,000 ravenous fans each game. He had to make sure his food could be duplicated 1,000 times a night by entry-level culinary employees. The need for infinite reproducibility at scale led to a, shall we say, certain simplicity of food products offered to arena customers.
The bar and indoor front dining area at Winfield’s Pub.
In November 2013 Daulton opened his own place, taking over an anodyne tavern on Ridge Road. There, allowed to be his culinary self, Daulton let his freak flag fly. Special after weekly special flowed from his fingertips like a guitar solo’s arpeggios, riffing off the local produce of the moment or other inspirations.
Closing in on a decade in service, Winfield’s Pub has become the corner tavern every neighborhood wants but so few get. Scratch cooking at reasonable prices, backed up with cocktails both standard and are-you-kidding-me, has woven the place into the neighborhood’s hearts and stomachs.
The pasta with carrot miso, a vegan offering at Winfield’s Pub.
It starts with the fact that Winfield’s is truly a family restaurant, in the old-fashioned sense. Tab minds the kitchen with his cooks. Out front, his wife Cherryl, who is sweet as butterscotch but has seen it all and will not put up with your nonsense, takes care of customers.
Yes, that is not a typo, that’s Cherryl, double-r. Nothing about the Daultons is cookie-cutter.
The other featured player in the Winfield’s power trio is their son, Thomas Daulton. A generously tattooed singer-songwriter-guitarist in a metal outfit called Fane, Daulton is also gifted in improvising eclectic, electric cocktails.
The kitchen is open until about 10 p.m., though the bar is open until 1 a.m. on weekends.
Cocktails at Winfield’s Pub range from standards to originals like Thomas Daulton’s Bloody Momo. His homage to ramen culture includes a pig’s foot tare and seasonings to bridge the gap between Japanese-style ramen soup and the Bloody Mary.
Cocktails at Winfield’s Pub range from standards to originals like Daulton’s Bloody Momo ($11). His homage to ramen culture includes a pig’s foot tare – the concentrated broth ramen makers use as a flavor booster – fennel, ginger and garnishes of shiitake mushrooms, pickled bamboo shoots, and seaweed salt-and-pepper shake to bridge the gap between Japanese-style ramen soup and the Bloody Mary.
The Bloody Momo, a beverage offering from bartender Thomas Daulton, puts a ramen-influenced spin on a traditional Bloody Mary cocktail.
Scan the specials, because that’s where the Daulton curveballs come in. On the night we visited, corn fritters ($10) with house buttermilk herb dressing and local honey were on the specials card, and we bit. Fritters fully cooked through but still fluffy, punctuated with sweet kernels, were our reward.
Kiki’s potato salad, named after Kiki Daulton, mother of Tab Daulton, current owner; and grandmother of Thomas Daulton, who represents the newest generation of Winfield Pub proprietors.
Kiki’s warm potato salad ($10), potatoes, bacon, green olives and scallions, in Velveeta. The recipe, from Tab’s mom, probably started on a Velveeta box in the 1940s. But it’s the kind of comfort food that can make you at home today.
The other dish I always get is the best poutine in Western New York. Daulton’s duck poutine ($15) starts with a rich gravy fortified with shreds of duck. That goes over fries, and one may have cheddar curds, goat cheese or half-and-half over the top of that. This is the least-likely dish to be put in a to-go container.
The duck poutine, duck gravy over french fries with cheddar curds, goat cheese, or half-and-half.
Winfield’s always has had a way with a lamb burger ($15), a seasoned patty topped with feta cheese, served with fries. French fry enthusiasts might spy Daulton’s signature seasoning – Yakima Valley Bravo hops ground into a dust with salt – on his hop fries ($7). The aromatics run wild, such that I never wished for ketchup or other assistance.
The lamb burger, served with house pickles and fries, at Winfield’s Pub.
The fried chicken sandwich ($14) is a classic, craggy fried chicken breast adorned with roasted garlic aioli and iceberg jalapeño slaw. Like the cheeseburger ($15) of house-ground chuck, it won’t let you down.
The chicken sandwich at Winfield’s Pub.
Among the big plates, if a special doesn’t grab me, I aim for the pork cutlet Francaise ($22). Pig slices pan-sautéed in eggy batter that grabs the lemon-butter sauce goes a long way with me, especially when arriving over vitamin-replenishing sautéed greens.
The pork cutlet Francaise at Winfield’s Pub, pork cutlets in egg batter and lemon-butter sauce, over sautéed greens.
Fish fry soup ($4/$8) was our Daulton improv moment of the night. He presented a creamy potage with all of the fish you could want, potatoes, and a crown of crispy fried crumbs over the top. Clever and delicious is a rare commodity. If we had room, we would have dared the sweet corn brûlée ($9) with cheddar cheese, lovage and bacon.
The Guinness cake at Winfield’s Pub in Lackawanna.
For dessert, consider housemade options like the Guinness layer cake ($10), a chocolate stout celebration three tiers high, cossetted in a chocolate cherry sauce.
If you were afraid that the American family restaurant was an extinct species, I would invite you to pull up a seat at Winfield’s Pub, and see how the Daultons get it done.
A sign invites visitors into Winfield’s Pub in Lackawanna. There’s a back door, too.
Winfield’s Pub
1213 Ridge Road, Lackawanna (winfieldspub.com, 716-821-0700)
Hours: 4 to 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday through Tuesday.
Prices: appetizers, $9-$36; entrées, $23-$28.
Atmosphere: quiet enjoyment
Parking: small lot in rear
Wheelchair accessible: no
Gluten-free options: Kiki’s potato salad, fish tacos and many more choices.
A sign invites visitors into Winfield’s Pub in Lackawanna.
The duck poutine.
The bar and indoor front dining area.
The pasta with carrot miso, a vegan offering.
The Bloody Momo, a beverage offering a spin on a traditional Bloody Mary.
The smoky cherry chipotle BBQ chicken.
The bar at Winfield’s Pub.
The lamb burger.
Condiments and coffee at the service station.
The pork cutlet Francaise.
The Mean Green Chevrolet, a beverage concocted by Thomas Daulton.
A piano, left over from the music video production of a family friend, at Winfield’s Pub.
The chicken sandwich.
A photograph of Dave Daulton, father of current owner Tab Daulton, adorns the bar in Lackawanna
The fish tacos.
Kiki’s potato salad, named after Kiki Daulton, mother of Tab Daulton, current owner, and grandmother of Thomas Daulton, who represents the newest generation of Winfield Pub proprietors.
A jukebox adds to the classic vibe.
The Guinness cake at Winfield’s Pub in Lackawanna
The back patio.
Send restaurant tips to agalarneau@buffnews.com and follow @BuffaloFood on Instagram and Twitter.
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The duck poutine, duck gravy over french fries with cheddar curds, goat cheese, or half-and-half.
The chicken sandwich at Winfield’s Pub.
The bar and indoor front dining area at Winfield’s Pub.
The pasta with carrot miso, a vegan offering at Winfield’s Pub.
The Bloody Momo, a beverage offering from bartender Thomas Daulton, puts a ramen-influenced spin on a traditional Bloody Mary cocktail.
Kiki’s potato salad, named after Kiki Daulton, mother of Tab Daulton, current owner; and grandmother of Thomas Daulton, who represents the newest generation of Winfield Pub proprietors.
The lamb burger, served with house pickles and fries, at Winfield’s Pub.
The Guinness cake at Winfield’s Pub in Lackawanna.
The pork cutlet Francaise at Winfield’s Pub, pork cutlets in egg batter and lemon-butter sauce, over sautéed greens.
A sign invites visitors into Winfield’s Pub in Lackawanna. There’s a back door, too.
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