“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That axiom rings especially true for places like the Eagle House Restaurant, which has been in business since 1827 and holds the title of Erie County’s Oldest Restaurant.
Located at 5578 Main Street in the heart of Williamsville, Eagle House began as a humble spot for a good meal and a bed for the night for weary travelers making the trek from Buffalo back to Batavia via horse-drawn wagons. Today, it offers delicious comfort food, a welcoming atmosphere and glimpses of its history spanning three different centuries on every wall, from newspaper articles to photos and menus.
Visiting the Eagle House is like going over to an elegant home for a home-cooked dinner—the surroundings are slightly formal, but comfortable. Gas lanterns sit on each table, and my soda (“pop” in Buffalo) was served in a Mason jar. Beautiful hardwood is the star throughout the restaurant’s warren of rooms, including the full bar, and an old-fashioned brick fireplace adds the perfect ambiance on a blustery Western New York winter day.
Eagle House offers a large draft beer list and a happy hour Monday through Friday with drinks and complimentary hors d’oeuvres. At the advice of my friendly waiter, I ordered two Eagle House specialties on a recent lunch visit: Welsh Rarebit and “Our Chicken Pot Pie.”
The Welsh Rarebit—advertised as a recipe passed down for generations—turned out to be a delicious, savory dip of rich cheese cut with ale, presented boiling hot and surrounded by toast triangles for dipping. Though the menu declares this item perfect for sharing, I needed no help in demolishing my toast allotment and craving more.
My waiter said the pot pie has devotees, who, having tried it once, now order it on every visit. I can see why—the Eagle House’s take on this classic dish involves a crock of the creamy, vegetable-studded filling with a large square of buttery, fluffy, French puff pastry baked over it. The whole thing is transferred to a plate at the table, and additional filling is ladled over the pastry. It was tasty and satisfying.