Dive Bar Cuisine: The Old Pink Steak Sandwich

| Food & Drink

The navy blue building painted with snowflakes and green flames located in the heart of Allentown is a Buffalo treasure that most Buffalonians have heard of, but aren’t exactly sure about. We know it was in a magazine once. We think it was Maxim or GQ (it was Maxim, GQ and InStyle) and we know it was listed as one of the best dive bars or best bar food places or something like that (Best Dive Bar) but we aren’t quite sure. We’re not even sure what the real name of the place is (Two-Two-Three Allen). It used to be called the Pink Flamingo (We think) so now we all just call it some variation of “The Old Pink.”

What we do know about The Pink is that they play the best music you’ve never heard of and it’s home to a legendary steak sandwich. And there is only one way to properly experience this sandwich:  in the early hours of the morning after a night on the town.

Along our way to The Pink we shared our mission with friends we made in the various bars we stopped in and quickly discovered that The Pink has another specialty sandwich that we had to try: The fried bologna sandwich. SOLD. Let’s eat.

Half-sauced and starving, we sat down at the back corner of the dark bar and immediately ordered three steak sandwiches and two fried bologna. Our bartender quickly shook us off and replied, “Drinks first.” In most establishments a response like that is off-putting. Here, it makes you love the place even more. Drinks served, we got to the task at hand. The fried bologna delivers as promised but you’re not reading this to hear about bologna are you? You want steak.

You order the steak sandwich medium rare because this is America. It’s a slab of steak topped with onions and cheese and it’s as delicious and perfect as you’ve heard it is. It doesn’t come with fries or a side because screw it, this is The Pink and the sandwich is a culinary manifestation of the bar itself: simple, no-frills, and awesome. I once read that a good dive bar is measured by its ability to do at least one thing well. Here, that thing is the steak sandwich. You see at the Pink, your to-go box is a piece of tinfoil served with a blank stare and your receipt looks suspiciously like a post-it note, but your steak sandwich will be served perfectly every time. And this is why you’ll keep seeing The Pink on lists in magazines. It’s dive-bar done right.