Inside Business Track: Finnerty’s Tap Room
Newest Eatery Aims to Feel Like Home
Story and Photo by John Thomas
“I want people to feel like this is their second home.” That’s Bill Finnerty talking about the kind of hospitality he plans to extend to customers in his new restaurant Finnerty’s Tap Room. The Irish Pub themed establishment has moved into the space vacated by the old Armor Inn on Mill Street. Although the décor hasn’t changed too much the atmosphere has. Walk inside and you’ll immediately be greeted by one of the friendly staff. Or, even by Bill’s wife Beth, who is working alongside her husband. Beth manages customer relations, freeing Bill to manage the front of the house. “It’s a nice blend,” Mr. Finnerty says of the partnership.
Bill started in the restaurant business with his first job as a bar-back in JP Fitzgerald’s Tap Room in Buffalo. He can give you the exact date he became hooked on the restaurant business: June 17, 1994. That is the date of the infamous OJ Simpson slow-speed Bronco chase through Los Angeles. He recalls how the bar was full of customers glued to the TV watching live as OJ Simpson attempted to flee the city. He saw how the customers became like a family as they watched the drama unfold. Eventually he became a bartender and developed many close friends among the customers and other employees. When the opportunity came to establish a place in Ellicottville, he jumped at the chance. His aim now is to establish a place where locals and visitors alike, come to have fun.
Head Chef David Miller studied at the Codon Blue School in Pittsburg. He was Executive Chef at the Buffalo Yacht Club when he came to work for Finnerty’s. At the moment, Bill and David are still working out the final menu. Chef David says they will be having fairly typical Buffalo pub fare, but with a twist and an Asian-Mexican flair. An appetizer of deep fried pickles would be one example. There are already a couple of untypical menu items like a Pad Thai salad, which I tried and was excellent. They will also have specials like a bone-in rib eye and sea bass. Bill admired the roast beef at Ekl’s in Orchard Park, and will bring the same quality to their beef on weck. Pizza will be coming soon, and the restaurateurs are open to suggestions as to toppings. The kid’s menu will have grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken fingers. Gluten free options will be available.
“By the end of this season I want to be an integrated part of the village and town,” says Bill. His aim is to be part of the regular restaurant scene, to blend in the regular bunch of downtown pubs. Currently they have 19 beers on tap including favorites from EBC, Four-Mile Brewery, Hamburg Red, Resurgence Buffalo, Blue Moon and Stella Artois. As a final note Bill points out that all of his wait staff has note pads to take suggestions. “We really want customer feedback.”