by Barbara Kozlowski
Ellicottville is blessed with a variety of restaurants, each with their own menu and cooking style, some fairly new, some well-established and all able to sate our appetites. One of the most familiar is The Birdwalk, so named because of the old Indian legend of the migrating birds, which stopped to walk through the valley of Great Valley Creek.
The Birdwalk is located on Route 242 about 3-plus miles from the Village of Ellicottville. Laurie and Bill Barrett are the owners and hosts. Although Bill is more or less in retirement, you will see him on occasion preparing his famous BBQ pork ribs.
The Birdwalk’s history began in 1834 when the original plank farm house (the red dining room) was built and added onto about 10 years later (blue dining room and kitchen). It was first made into a restaurant by Pete Burrell from Ellicottville in 1947 and called The Farm. Then, for a few years it was called Mary’s and owned by Les Fox, Sr.
In 1955, Bertha Fredrick bought and called it Bert’s until 1970 when it became The Birdwalk, owned and operated by the Barretts. A new addition in 1979 added the bar and lounge. Further renovating in the summer of 1993 has enhanced its decor. The latest feature is the wood-fired stone oven, which was added in 2002. For many years, The Birdwalk hosted the Birdwalk Regatta and chicken barbecue.
The fare at this relaxing and comfortable restaurant is labeled “Italian steakhouse.” The appetizers include their baked French onion au gratin, homemade soup and other tasty bites. Salads include their own Birdwalk steak salad as well as others loaded chicken and shrimp, as well as their Caesar salad. The dressings are homemade and include their house dressing, a local favorite.
Featured entrees include steaks, chops, chicken and Bill’s BBQ pork ribs. From-the-sea selections offer crab legs, catfish, scallops, salmon, shrimp and haddock. Blacken filets or blacken catfish are items in the Cajun corner. Saturday and Sunday nights have slow roasted prime rib au jus available. They also offer several specials each week, and Monday night is Wing Night.
If you prefer Italian dishes, the 10 varieties of wood-fired stone oven thin-crust pizzas, Stromboli and calzones may be what you’re looking for. Also available are Italian starters of antipasti, a Mediterranean platter or a focaccia. Scaloppini, ravioli, saccattini plus a create-your-own pasta dish round out the many choices available.
They also offer a great selection of wines by the bottle, a variety of beers and ale, a wonderful selection of single malt whisky plus a full-service bar. Non-alcoholic beverages are also available. Although a children’s menu is not available, check with your server to request a smaller portion if possible.
The Birdwalk also caters private parties at the restaurant or at your home. At the restaurant, you can have a cookout under the huge trees or under a tent. Call (716) 699-2749 for additional information.