The Viking Lobster Company!!!
Oh boy, did we stumble upon something good last night... The Viking Lobster Company. Not only is it fun to say that you are heading to dinner there, this is the type of place that you always hoped was in Buffalo, but just never knew where to find it. Finding it is half the battle it seems, as the dinner joint is located off Amherst Street heading West towards Black Rock. I happened upon it by mistake the other day right before arriving at Sportsmen's. It threw me for a loop when I spotted it, because I could have sworn that I had driven by the same location before without ever seeing the place.
You really can't miss The Viking with its long oars and rustic sign bolted to the side of the establishment. Ever since The Royal Pheasant closed its doors, there really has been no place to get jumbo (and I mean jumbo) lobsters in the city. Figmo and I decided to test the place out last night (it's only open Fridays and Saturdays at the moment) because it is all I have been talking about ever since I saw it. The gang over at Sportsmen's clued me into the Friday/Saturday window, and we headed over last night to experience this mysterious place. Eating at The Viking turns out to be like eating at a friend's home. The dining area is set up with about a dozen tables where you seat yourself while waiting for your waitress. The coastal themed room is relaxing and comfortable. We never dreamed that we would know anyone inside, and we were pleasantly surprised to see two other tables of people that we said hello to (only in Buffalo). In the end, we decided that since it was Friday we would have the fish fry... it had been a while since either one of us had one, plus the table next to us recommended it. That was OK, because another table did order the lobsters and I swear I have never seen such a king's feast in all my life. They raved about the delicious spread throughout the evening, so all I can tell you is that they recommended the meal highly. The fish fry was very good as well. The large haddock was fried perfectly and the fries were served golden brown. The fresh slaw was crunchy and rounded out the meal perfectly. There are other items on the menu besides sea-fare, but man do these guys do justice to seafood. Unfortunately the restaurant does not have a beer and wine license yet, but they have applied for one so it is only a matter of time. After the meal we spoke to Jeff, one of the Viking's owners, who gave us a rundown of the history of the place. The Viking originally opened in 1980, and two years later suffered a major fire. Upon re-opening nine months later the owners discovered that they had lost much of their original clientele. So they scrambled for a new idea and re-established the eatery as a successful lobster house, which had a good run until the year 1993 when it closed again.
The Viking has now been open for business for two months and the owners are excited to re-create the atmosphere of the restaurant's heyday. It shouldn't be hard to do either. These guys truck their live lobsters into Buffalo on a regular basis. There are no middlemen, as the owners deal directly with the lobster boats (no easy feat) to bring the freshest catch to each customer's plate. The Viking also houses industrial lobster tanks in the back of the building, which guarantees freshness as well. The family owned restaurant is proud of the eclectic customer base (it has always been that way) it draws. Back in the early days The Viking attracted politicians, police, number runners and anyone else that wanted to experience 'good old Buffalo'. There are also plans to bring back the musical entertainment since the old stage is still set up next to the nautical bar. Just walking into The Viking gives you a sense of the incredible history this place must have had. If the walls could talk I am sure that there would be some very interesting stories.
Here is another restaurant that adds to the city's mystique. The only thing I can really say is... "If you can find The Viking, then you have found Valhalla!"
The Viking Lobster Co. is located at 366 Tonawanda Street in Buffalo. (Amherst bends into Tonawanda. There is a loop around where you travel under an overpass and it is up on the left hand side of the street). 716.873.1079.