It can be easy to walk by the black metal fence as you head down Elmwood Ave toward Cantina Loco’s main entrance on the corner of Allen St. And once you’re in the restaurant, with its large windows, sugar skull murals and full bar, you might not even think to venture out the back door and down the flower-lined ally.
If you do, though, you’ll be greeted with a large, yet cozy patio, tucked away from the bustle of the area, and filled with a vibrancy all it’s own.
This past Monday, Buffalo Dinner Club did just that, and it has turned out to be one of our most fun dinners yet!
For those who want to take advantage of Cantina’s patio area during the little heatwave that Buffalo has been having, there are two options. For a full-service dinner, diners can walk up a few short stairs to ready-set tables or, for a cocktail hour vibe, customers can utilize the full bar and sit at one of the tables or mingle with friends.
“It’s really that diamond in the rough, it’s a little bit tucked away and it makes for a really nice, a little intimate, fun experience,” Cantina Loco’s General Manager Adam Smith explained.
Smith along with Cantina’s Head Chef, Mike Andrejewski, helped us design a night perfect for networking and mingling as the meal, designed exclusively for Buffalo Dinner Club, was brought out in six parts.
Some dishes like chips, salsa, and guacamole as well as smoked duck quesadillas with mango salsa were served family-style. Others, like the shrimp empanada wrapped in parchment paper were designed for diners to eat while conversing. Still others, like the braised short rib poblano mole were brought to members wherever they were seated or standing allowing for freedom to move around and interact with each other.
As an added bonus, our dinner sponsor – Lockhouse Distillery – set up tastings for diners to sample seven of the eight products they distil. With this in mind, Smith created a special cocktail menu for the event, allowing members to order specialized mixed drinks designed around their favorite Lockhouse products.
“I wanted to highlight all of what Lockhouse was doing,” Smith said, “So I picked each one of their spirits that we carry here, and I came up with something fun. It highlighted what they were going for at the distillery and brought out the flavors of the spirit itself.”
Before deciding between a “Lock at What Time It Is!?” drink – made with coffee liquor that Lockhouse distills using beans from Buffalo’s own Public Espresso – or “Lock, Shock & Barrel” mixed with Lockhouse’s Vodka – the flagship product of the first distillery in Buffalo since prohibition – BDC members were given a complimentary glass of “Locked & Loaded,” which showcased the distillery’s Ibisco Bitter.
Casey Yeates, a bar manager at Lockhouse, lead groups through tastings, explaining some of the unique products that the distillery had to offer.
“The single hop spirit is a beer spirit,” Yeate explained, “So we teamed up with a bunch of local breweries, let them pick their own hops, and we distilled it with a high proof spirit, so every bottle is a little different.”
Lockhouse also offers a seasonal cherry blossom-infused gin, distilled with petals donated by Olmstead Parks. A portion of the proceeds from these bottles are donated back to the parks each year.
Thank you to everyone who was able to join us on such a fun night and a special thank you to Cantina Loco for hosting us and Lockhouse Distillery for sponsoring us. If you attended the event, please be sure to leave a review on Facebook and Yelp!
We’re cooking up some more exciting events, so keep your eyes on our Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest!
by BDC Editor Amy Brooks