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Buffalo, NY

The Wings and Things of Mooney’s Sports Bar and Grill

Posted by 
J.M. Lesinski
J.M. Lesinski
A shot of the side of Mooney's Sports Bar and Grill in West Seneca, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

For Buffalonians, a good home-cooked meal with a little flair goes a long way, and when that meal is closer to home that is even better for most. Located directly across from the i400/Aurora Expressway exit, the wooden exterior of Mooney’s Sports Bar and Grill is an icon to local West Seneca, New York residents.

One of the more alluring items on the menu, hawg wings, are a close acquaintance to the chicken wing. Though not members of the same protein family, the hawg wings certainly bring the appearance of chicken wings. Essentially pork shanks, the hawg wings come in two or four-piece options, as well as mac and cheese and single side options with two of the succulent pork bullets. Like wings, sauce is boss, and comes in Thai, bourbon, Mooney’s Gold, or Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ flavors.

No Buffalo dining institution is complete without chicken wings. Mooney’s does wings and fingers good, even during a rush, keeping it simple to maximize efficiency too. Wings come in singles of ten or doubles of twenty with a dollar upcharge on the specialty sauces.

The core hot, medium, mild, and BBQ are all proud standards, but when one is in the mood for variety, the specialty sauces are where it is at. Choices include bourbon, Chiavetta’s, Thai, Honey BBQ, Italian style, Honey Garlic, Mooney’s Gold, or Garlic Parmesan.

Mac and cheese is flaunted at Mooney’s as being some of the best in Erie county. With every order made fresh to order, the quality is not only there, but the sheer variety of options for a mac and cheese dinner is extensive. The regular, or Mooney’s original, comes topped with panko and fresh baked, a good foundation to build off of, and build they do.

The taco mac and cheese has all the staples of the taco, ground beef, taco sauce, cheddar, mozzarella, jalapenos, and crushed Tostitos brand chips. Likewise, other name variations deliver the flavors, the pizza mac showcases pepperoni and mozzarella, the lobster features lobster meat, and the stuffed banana peppers highlight one of the menu’s more revered appetizers over the gooey, cheesy mac and cheese plates.

There are also the staple Buffalo-hybrid dishes, like the beef on weck mac and cheese, with fresh roast beef, panko, and kummelweck topping. The Reuben mac and cheese comes with sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, corned beef, swiss cheese, and kummelweck, while the stinger mac and cheese features chopped steak and chicken fingers, crumbled bleu cheese, hot sauce, cheddar, and panko.

When it comes to sandwiches, referred to as Mooney’s Sammy’s on the menu, there is a hearty selection that matches in the flavor department. The Buffalo Beef on Weck is an exemplary creation, as is the Corned Beef Reuben, both Buffalo icons. More Mooney’s-Buffalo specific dishes like the Union Road Turkey Melt and the BOMB, which comes with chopped steak, stuffed banana peppers, and mozzarella on a garlic bomber roll are sure to please.

Chicken sandwiches all come with fresh grilled chicken, and include the Mooney’s chicken, smothered chicken, and blackened chicken sandwiches. Pork sandwiches come with a half pound of the smoked delicacy, with the pulled pork always a great option for BBQ and the Moses Style Pork sandwich piled high as the sky.

One cannot go wrong with a burger at Mooney’s either. The half pounder “monster” burgers all live up to the name, come with chips for a side, but toppings that are not listed on the burger are all extra – even the staples like lettuce, onion, and tomato. Specialty burgers like the Pulled Pork Rodeo with smoked pork, onion petals, and cheddar, or “The Irishman” burger take on the Reuben may not necessarily need that many more toppings to be fair.

Subs, either hot or cold, will fill one up lunch or dinner. The pizza sub is your straightforward cheese and pepperoni, the chicken finger follows suite with choice of sauce, cheese, and lettuce/tomato combi toppings. The Philly Cheese Steak and Mooney’s Mighty Philly both showcase grilled steak and veggies, with nacho cheese on Mooney’s Mighty the differentiating factor between the two.

The stinger sub is the Buffalo classic with Mooney’s seasoned steak the highlight of this treasure. The turkey hoagie is superb too with house roasted turkey breast served up Philly style. The turkey sub comes smoked, the ham sub features Sahlen’s Smokehouse Ham, and the roast beef comes thin sliced. The assorted features all three for the cold sub enthusiast.

Wraps are uniformly all the same price on the menu and include chips for a side. Like the mac and cheese dishes, variations on the classic namesakes like the pulled pork Moses-style, beef taco, and Buffalo chicken are exactly what one comes to expect in a wrap interpretation. The Chicken Caesar wrap, though simple, is honestly one of the best variations on the salad dish I have ever tasted.

Mooney’s does a small, but flavorful number of grilled cheese plates. The stuffed banana pepper macaroni grilled cheese is a mouthful both name and bite-wise, but the harmony of creamy cheese and spicy crunch of the pepper is one-of-a-kind. The steak grilled cheese is another great vehicle for some of the restaurant’s excellently seasoned steak, for a meatier option too.

The seafood menu only makes an appearance on Fridays and features two sides, some wicked tangy and crisp coleslaw and choice of French fries or macaroni salad. Haddock comes baked or panko crusted, or for fans of the broil, there are Cajun and lemon pepper options.

The shrimp dinner comes panko-crusted too, featuring jumbo shrimp which definitely live up to the size requirement. Of course, one cannot go wrong with the classic beer battered fish fry. The golden brown color and honey crisp texture is done just right at Mooney’s.

Appetizers at Mooney’s are all up to snuff with industry standards. The Coconut Raspberry Shrimp stands out for the unique use of a raspberry remoulade and a great blend of crunch and coconut with the panko. The deep fried pickles are a personal favorite, as is the quesadilla if one vies for the chicken or steak up charge (worth it). Of course, the stuffed banana peppers are one of the most iconic as well, served stuffed to the brim with garlic toast points to accompany.