Whenever I am back in Buffalo, I have two bucket lists that need to be fulfilled before I can return home: one to visit all my family, and one to hit all of the amazing food establishments that Buffalo has to offer. Buffalo is one amazing foodie town with restaurants and specialty dishes that will completely win you over. Lasagna fans take note – if you are in the area, you need to visit this Italian eatery.
64 Jackson Avenue in Lackawanna, NY, is a building that is close to my heart. In the early 1950’s it was home to my Dad’s parents bar and grill called the “Bethlehem Park Grill,” which was a five minute walk from their house in the neighborhood. My Grandpa Anthony was the bartender and Grandma Mary was the cook (everyone loved her homemade chili!) Steel workers from the Bethlehem Steel plant (which employed about 20,000 people in the 50’s and 60’s) would come in after their shifts to have a few beers and enjoy home cooked meals. They ran a bustling business, but with a growing family they decided to sell the restaurant to dedicate more time to their family (owning a restaurant is a 7 day a week job!). I still like to think that a piece of their history is still in the building. To me, this story of my grandparents is the perfect example of the way of life in the U.S. in the 1950’s and the American dream. Now let’s fast-forward to present time. This building is still making a name for itself, and is famously known as Mulberry Italian Ristorante, which has been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.
The restaurant is a mulberry-colored building (go figure) that is nestled right in a residential neighborhood, so you may need to MapQuest this baby. Inconspicuous from the outside, step into the entrance to find a sports bar, lined with photographs of signed photos of celebrities that have stopped by for a delicious meal. The other side of Mulberry is more of a restaurant, with pictures of Buffalo all over the walls.
While I can only attest to their amazing lasagna – I get it EVERY time – my family has gotten other menu items that they have raved about. But let me dive right into their monster-sized lasagna. Made fresh daily, this hearty serving of lasagna can feed two, if not more! The layers of in-house made pasta, ricotta, hot peppers, sausage and homemade tomato sauce will win you over the second you take a bite, just as Guy Fieri admits. Not only is the lasagna amazing, the presentation is impressive as well. Topped with tomato sauce, melted mozzarella and a large basil leaf, this lasagna is a beautiful thing.
My most recent trip was a dinner date with my Grandma Pat, who ordered their classic spaghetti. Again, the portion was enough to feed two. Another attribute they are known for? Their delicious gourmet meatballs that are larger than the size of a baseball. Mulberry’s portion sizes are pretty consistent- you definitely get your money’s worth!
No meal is complete without dessert, right? We ended our excellently filling meal with another Italian specialty – the cannoli (I tried the chocolate cannoli). Dusted with pistachio pieces, this dessert was the perfect sweet ending to another fantastic meal at Mulberry.
Other favorites include the lobster pasta, chicken parmigiana and numerous gnocchi dishes. Rated a coveted 4.5 stars on Yelp!, Mulberry is known as one of the best Italian restaurants in Buffalo. If you are in Western New York, I highly recommend you visit this authentic Italian eatery! (Note – if you like Mulberry on Facebook and fill our their contact form on the website, you will be treated to a free meatball! #SCORE!)
I really enjoyed writing this post, the only con being that I am so far away from this restaurant that I crave regularly! A big thank you to my Aunt Joan, the historian of our family. And thank you to everyone else for taking a step back in time with me to read about a piece of my family history. I would love to hear all of your experiences at this restaurant, or the history of the building for that matter! Buon appetite, Mulberry! I can’t wait to visit again!
Mulberry Italian Ristorante
64 Jackson Avenue
Lackawanna, NY 14218