October 28, 2009 > Restaurant Review: Buffalo Bill's Brewery
Restaurant Review: Buffalo Bill's Brewery
By Shavon Walker
Looking for a great local spot to dine with a new friend, a group of buddies or the family? If a place full of energetic people, friendly servers, and good food is your quest, then check out Buffalo Bill's located in downtown Hayward on B Street. The first thing you'll notice is that this place is always busy. Even on a Wednesday night at 8 p.m., families, groups of friends, and couples can be found here.
Alex Caldiera, the manager on duty when I arrived, told me of the microbrewery's start in 1983 by Bill Owens. The law had just changed to allow pubs to brew their own beer on the premises and Owens wanted to be one of the first in the market. He was well versed in the art of brewing beer, having written a book on the subject.
When the opportunity to open his business arose in the form of a historic 1930's era building on B Street in Hayward, he jumped at it. As a result, the microbrewery is the second oldest in the country and the oldest in the Bay Area. Not only is Buffalo Bill's a microbrewery, but a restaurant and a bar as well. Current owner, Geoff Harries' goal is to expand menu offerings and make the business more popular than ever without detracting from the charm that drew people to it in the first place.
Wooden booths and tables still seat patrons, as does the bar area. Ads from the early days of the business still decorate the walls, as do old fashioned signs. The recently added large video screens make it easy for patrons to sit at the bar and watch a game while enjoying local beer, and Mom and Dad can feel comfortable helping Junior pick something off the kids' menu (a recent addition). If you want to people watch while you eat, outdoor seating areas make that possible. The fact that Buffalo Bill's is able to create a comfortable atmosphere for such a diverse group of customers is part of the secret to its success.
One of the most popular items on the menu is jalapeno poppers. This was the appetizer that my fiance and I chose; an excellent decision, since they are a unique experience. As Alex pointed out, you can't find these anywhere else. The jalapenos are stuffed with queso cotijo cheese, similar to mozzarella, and covered in a flaky, rich puff pastry crust. Then they're baked to a crispy golden brown, and served with ranch dipping sauce. A half order was perfect for the two of us. The pastry was crispy and buttery, while the jalapeno was tender, easily cut with a fork. Perfectly melted mild cheese inside the pepper helped soothe any residual heat from the jalapeno.
As we were finishing up the poppers, our entrees arrived. My fiance's tenderloin burger was charbroiled grilled pork with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. It came with a side of grilled vegetables. The meat was well cooked, delicious and the sauce was really the only topping it needed. The sauce was so good that when the burger was gone, I looked longingly at the leftover mushrooms on the plate to finish off any remnants.
I ordered the chicken sausage pizza which arrived piping hot with chicken sausage and apple slices over a base of pesto and mozzarella cheese. I'd forgotten that apple slices were part of this pizza, and wasn't quite sure what to make of it until I took my first bite. Surprisingly, the combination was perfect. Savory chicken sausage complemented the apple flavor; the pesto and mozzarella didn't get in the way either. My only regret was that I was too full from the poppers to really dig into the pizza, but my fiance was more than willing to pick up the slack. He ate most of my leftovers the next evening for dinner.
Buffalo Bill's is a great place to meet friends and family for a full fledged dining experience or just to grab a beer before heading home. The waiters are friendly, the food is fabulous, and the ambiance is casual and fun. So get a group together and plan to visit soon.
Reviewed October 7, 2009
Buffalo Bill's Brewery
1082 B Street, Hayward