Diggin' Dug's Dive
Buffalo Rising stopped into the Lake Effect Diner the day they closed their doors for the summer. It's sad to see such a beautifully restored, well-loved establishment shut it's doors. For Tucker and Erin Curtin, Buffalo enthusiasts and owners of Lake Effect (and The Steer), the situation is bittersweet. While the Lake Effect has a special place in their hearts as well as the hearts of many Buffalonians, the Curtin's are very excited about their new venture, Dug's Dive located in the Small Slip Harbor off Fuhrmann Boulevard.
It seems that the general public is equally thrilled. When I drove by on Father's Day en route to the beach, the parking lot was packed. At lunch with a handful of staffers from BR we were pleased to see a pretty busy dining room as early as 11:30. I returned for dinner a few days later with my kids and there were scads of folks enjoying ice cream and the view.
The restaurant, in its previous incarnation, was more of a cafeteria, catering predominately to the NFTA crowd. Now, it is a full scale restaurant, replete with a full menu, friendly waitstaff and attached ice cream shack.
The interior has been painted a gorgeous shade of blue and much of the once gloomy woodwork has been given a sparkly coat of white paint. A bar has replaced the former service counter, Curtin built it himself, it's hull-shaped base reflecting the many boats moored just yards away. The stupendous view is visible through the many windows in the dining room. On one of my visits we watched a storm roll in across the water. Tables also line the exterior of the building as well as a deck located a few yards away along the water's edge.
The menu suits the venue and it's location. The BR staff had steamed clams ($8.99 dozen), beer battered fish sandwiches ($5.49), sweet potato fries with honey butter ($2.29), stuffed peppers ($6.99), crab cakes ($5.99 for an app, $6.49 for the crabby patty sandwich), an angus burger ($3.99), and a good veggie burger ($4.49). Everything was good, and we all finished our meal. The banana peppers were exceptionally good, as were the super crispy sweet potato fries and the crispy fresh haddock sandwich topped with coleslaw. When I stopped by for dinner, I jumped on the jerk chicken. Dug's chef worked at Curly's for years, so I knew it was going to be good. And it was. The clove/nutmeg/cinnamon was really present and the low burn was ideal.
Other menu items include a shrimp cocktail ($6.99) , steamed mussels ($6.99), Sahlen's dogs ($2.49), linguine with clam sauce ($11.99), shrimp scampi ($12.99), and smoked bbq chicken ($11.99). Seafood entrees consist of the catch of the day (market price), fresh haddock ($9.99) and rainbow trout ($11.99). Better yet, you can order it prepared in one of five ways: Beer battered, Italian-style (which is pan seared and topped with marinara, fresh tomato, basil, romano, and olive oil), potato crusted, (where the potato coating is lightly browned and served with a cool sour cream, onion and cucumber sauce), another version which is sauteed with white wine, lemon, parsley and roasted garlic butter and lastly a Cajun version grilled in butter and seasoned with one of Paul Prudhomme's famous “Magic” seasonings.
Dug's Dive is a great place to get a taste of summer and some good, classic American eats. A view of Buffalo's waterfront and a slice of it's history are also fine accompaniments. It seems that the American colloquialism of referring to a less than stellar joint as a “dive” finds it's roots here in our city. William Douglas, former slave turned business owner operated a saloon in the former Canal District. It was referred to as Dug's Dive because the entranceway to the basement bar was configured in such a manner that thirsty patrons had to virtually “dive” down the steps to get in. If you're looking for more information about the Canal District, William Douglas, or his dive, this link will take you there.
Dug's Dive, 1111 Fuhrmann Boulevard, 14203
Photos: Dug's Exterior by Adam Fix
Tucker on the closing day at Lake Effect by Newell Nussbaumer
Fresh Haddock Sandwich by Christa Glennie Seychew