So while the other suburbs seem to be busy opening a frozen-yogurt shop in every strip mall, the tiny village of Spencerport (population 3,601, according to the 2010 census) may be slowly morphing into a culinary mecca. You'll encounter excellent barbecue, homey Italian, Mexican both classic and nuevo, a nifty new-American bistro, and most recently the adorably convivial McColley's, which general manager Jules Suplicki describes as "a pub from the British Isles."
Stepping into McColley's feels more County Cork than Western New York thanks to rich, dark woods and a ceiling thatched in the style of a European country cottage. You obviously wouldn't be a regular on your very first visit, but it's impossible not to feel instantly welcome: a wee nook that might accommodate several pub-goers or a cluster of acoustic musicians, a good-sized bar, and a cozy dining room where you can tuck into McColley's relatively healthy spin on traditional pub fare. You won't find a deep-fryer in the kitchen; everything on the menu is, in Suplicki's words, "baked, braised, pan-fried, or grilled."
The possibly addictive reuben fritters ($8.50), for instance, are packed with corned beef and sauerkraut and accompanied by Thousand Island dressing and have the consistency of a crab cake. The hand-cut sweet-potato wedges ($5) enjoy some quality time in the oven before you dunk 'em in honey mustard. There's also housemade hummus ($6) as well as tomato-based (and Guinness-kissed) Manhattan clam chowder ($5). And, of course, McColley's serves up pub-style comfort foods like shepherd's pie ($12) and cider salmon ($13) — look for kid versions of a few dishes — plus daily specials ranging from salads to vegetarian-friendly fare.
You might know Suplicki from her 16 years at The Old Toad. The career move to Spencerport allows the westside resident to work closer to her home and poses a fresh challenge for Suplicki, who is keen to see if she can grow a successful pub in an unproven market. So far, the response has been "absolutely great," she says. "It's taken off so much faster than I ever thought possible."
Named in honor of owner Matt Brooks' Scottish mum, McColley's is also one of the few local spots west of the Genesee to specialize in craft beers, with rotating draft and bottle selections, along with wines and a carefully chosen array of single-malts and blended whiskeys. Suplicki reports that McColley's plans to do beer-pairing dinners in the future, but for now she and her crew are getting to know their many new friends. "The locals are embracing of it all," says Suplicki. "People come up to me and say, 'Thanks for coming to Spencerport.'"
McColley's is located at 89 S. Union St., Spencerport. It is open Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Food prices range from $4 to $13. For more information, call 617-4279, or visit mccolleys.com.
In need of someplace to watch the Super B — er, the big game? Check out Fireside Grill & Sports Bar, now open in the old FDR's Restaurant at 3939 E. Henrietta Road. There are 17 TVs scattered around the roomy space, and the vittles range from inspired bar food like kung pao calamari and surf-n-turf sliders to soups to salads to burgers, plus a creative roster of daily specials, such as a recent dish of mussels steamed with onions and housemade chorizo in a buttery Bass Ale broth. Fireside Grill also offers a full bar, including an interesting assortment of craft cocktails. Call 486-4611 to learn more, or visit firesidegrillsportsbar.com.
Hopefully you've been in training for International Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day on February 1, because Moonlight Creamery, 36 West Ave., Fairport, will be celebrating from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with cereal toppings, breakfasty ice-cream flavors like the popular maple bacon, and door prizes. Proceeds from the event benefit Holy Childhood; call 223-0880, or do some advance work at moonlightcreamery.com.
The Buffalo chicken wing turns 50 in 2014, and there may be no better way to honor the iconic (and occasionally brutal) food than with a viewing of "The Great Chicken Wing Hunt," a documentary by Lyons native Matt Reynolds. The film follows Reynolds and an eclectic gang of wing connoisseurs as they roam the land in search of the finest specimen of its kind. Screenings take place at the Little Theatre, 240 East Ave., Saturday, February 1, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $6-$8; visit thelittle.org to get 'em.
The Owl House is throwing a Chinese New Year's Party on Monday, February 3, at 7 p.m., with as much attention paid to the vegetarian revelers as the carnivorous ones. The family-style feast will showcase dishes like char siu pork shoulder with ginger pickled cabbage and fried tofu with spicy ginger-sesame glaze, and both vegan and gluten-free items will be available. The dinner costs $25 per person; call 360-2920 for reservations, and get further details at the Owl House's Facebook page.
Aspiring liquor barons may want to avail themselves of "Introduction to Craft Distilling," a seminar and workshop by Black Button Distilling's Jason Barrett that breaks down the fundamentals of operating a craft distillery. On Saturday, February 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., attendees will learn about the art and science behind the process, along with insight into the business end of getting a distillery up and running. Tuition is $150 per person, with a very limited number of spaces available. Visit blackbuttondistilling.com for more information.
Chow Hound is a food and restaurant news column. Do you have a tip? Send it to email@example.com.