TASTING ELLICOTTVILLE: Riley’s Bar and Restaurant
By Barbara Kozlowski
“Livin the life of Riley” – a phrase kiddingly used by Chef Patrick Wooldridge and his brother-in-law. That’s how Riley’s got its name. The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere and wonderful dishes by Chef Patrick and his staff. Riley’s is located on Route 219 just north of Ellicottville and once housed restaurants like The Blue Denim, Gypsy’s and Stone Creek. Food and hospitality is their business, and Patrick and his wife Terry dole it out in generous portions.
Patrick has been in the restaurant business for 30 years. He was born in Western New York and obtained his chef’s degree in Chicago at Washburne Trade School. He ran establishments such as The Bethlehem Steel Management Club in Burns Harbor, Ind., and Alexander’s Steak & Seafood House outside Chicago where he won the People’s Choice Award for Best Cuisine for four consecutive years.
Patrick and Terry moved back to Western New York to be close to family. He then helped open and establish The Legacy Restaurant in Springville in 2000 and won an award for Best Appetizer at The Taste of the Southtowns for his delicious seafood bisque chowder. Patrick worked at The Legacy until 2005 when he came to a local restaurant for a couple of years. Yearning to open his own restaurant and to do what he does best – create awesome food –with the help of family and friends, Riley’s became a reality.
Riley’s menu offers fresh homemade soups like seafood bisque chowder and French wild leek au gratin in cup, bowl or quart-to-go sizes. Appetizers range from chicken wings, Saganaki, clams casino, shrimp cocktail, four-cheese artichoke dip, Maryland crab cakes and fresh fried chips. Salads are served with a complimentary cup of soup du jour and include the house garden salad, walnut crusted goat cheese and spinach (my favorite), chicken souvlaki salad and teriyaki steak salad. Pasta dishes include lobster and saffron ravioli with Alfredo sauce, chicken bruschetta and angel hair pasta, shrimp scampi-stuffed ravioli with a white cheddar cheese sauce and homemade vegetable lasagna.
Entrees include a NY strip steak with Burgundy mushrooms, roasted half duckling with raspberry sauce, chicken Oscar, chicken Marsala, award-winning hickory-buttered baby back ribs, apple-stuffed Canadian pork tenderloin Madeira, baked orange roughy with garlic and lemon butter, haddock fish fry or baked Italiano, baked scallops, macadamia crab-stuffed shrimp Monterey and Riley’s filet.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday only, you can feast on prime rib or garlic-roasted Chicago prime rib. All of these entrees include a cup of soup and house salad with homemade dressings. The house dressing is a cranberry vinaigrette with bleu cheese crumbles. The desserts are all mouthwatering and homemade by Terry. Try a turtle cheesecake or peanut butter pie, to name just a couple.
If you prefer a lighter fare, try one of their sandwiches: beef on weck, Riley’s burger with a choice of additional toppings, an Eiffel Tower croissant or a Reuben. Also available are chicken fingers and fries, and a lobster and mushroom melt. There are also daily specials like liver, onions and bacon, tacos, chicken and biscuits, and turkey or bison burgers, to name a few. You never go away hungry from a meal at Riley’s.
A pool table is adjacent to the bar, and there is an entrance to the bar area and another to the dining rooms. They offer a full-service bar with a great variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Choose from domestic, premium and draft beers and ales, and nice selections of wine by the bottle or the glass. Gift certificates are available and they welcome private parties, rehearsal dinners, bridal or baby showers with a special banquet menu. All menu items are available for take-out if you prefer. Stop by, say Hello to Patrick & Terry and feel like you too are “living the life of Riley.” You can call the restaurant at (716) 699-2359.