From corner taverns to five-star restaurants, the burger is a staple of the American menu – an expected and reassuring choice for the picky or indecisive eater. Size, accompaniments, garnishments and quality vary, and a truly great burger is hard to find.
I’ve been looking for a great burger joint and I think I’ve found one — a new spot on Buffalo’s West Side dedicated to the fine art of crafting burgers of the highest quality. Meet Mr. Sizzle’s.
Casey and Chris, owners of Mr. Sizzle’s, have spent most of their professional lives working in the restaurant industry. Moving to Buffalo from Charleston, South Carolina, Casey has worked at Mother’s, Hydraulic Hearth and even created her own signature spirit, Ginnamon, as bar manager at Lockhouse Distillery. Chris’s experience came at Bacchus, Bravo Cucina and as general manager of Hamburg’s Carte Blanche. But their vision for Mr. Sizzle’s goes back even further, to their formative years.
“Our inspiration for Mister Sizzle’s came from our childhood memories of going to diners with our parents and grandparents, and more specific, going to Mississippi Mudds and Old Man River. We drew a lot of inspiration from Archie Comics and our Sizzles character was thought up from our love of Wimpy from Popeye,” Casey explained.
Chris and Casey, owners of Mr. Sizzle’s
When you walk into Mr. Sizzle’s you’re presented with a decision. For the individual looking for a more traditional fast-casual dining experience, step up to the ordering counter, receive a buzzer and take a seat in the dining area of the historic Horsefeathers building. Visiting twice, once on a jam-packed opening weekend and again on a busy Friday night, service was prompt and attentive, never taking more than 15 minutes for our food to be ready.
If you’ve got a little more time on your hands, pony up to the fully stocked bar staffed with energetic, friendly bartenders and prepare to make some new friends. With signature cocktails, local beers, boozy milkshakes and creative “mocktails” for those who don’t partake, it’s the more social way to enjoy your food.
“The room was designed to socialize and meet people. We want this to be the living room of Buffalo. Inclusive, safe, lively and fun,” Casey said.
Once you’ve decided how to enjoy your burger, it’s time to choose your burger. The first time I visited, I went traditional – a single patty Sizzle Burger (American cheese, pickle, lettuce, onion and Sizzle sauce on an impossibly shiny brioche bun). Paired with fries and a thick vanilla shake, it was the classic burger experience. Delicious. When we visited again last Friday, we went experimental… and BIG; a double patty Butter Burger (American cheese, sautéed onion and, of course, butter), a Messy Pressy (think poutine on a burger), the vegan Impossible version of the Sizzle Burger, and I Love Honey (buttermilk fried chicken, hot honey and pickles). Oh, we didn’t mention Mr. Sizzle’s has killer chicken sandwiches, too?
“The menu has so much heart in it. Chris and I wrote the menu over the course of a year. And our two chefs made it a reality. We love smash burgers, and in my opinion they are the superior burger choice — to each their own,” Casey proclaimed. “Currently we have ten burgers, five available vegan. We are working on some menu additions that will be added in the future like a ‘stinger’ which is our fried chicken topped with a burger patty. We’re also working on a vegan version of fried chicken which we are hoping to launch by end of summer.”
Stuffed by our burger splurge, we just sort of sat back and enjoyed the social experience that Mr. Sizzle provided. After more than a year spent socially-distanced, our visit was one of the first outings that felt like a return to “normal”. Aside from the smiles on the faces of other patrons, one thing I noticed was how happy Casey and Chris were and how genuinely enthusiastic Mr. Sizzle’s staff was to cater to their patrons. The recent times haven’t been easy for folks, especially those in the restaurant industry, but from our experience, Mr. Sizzle has succeeded in their pursuit of offering delicious food for everyone and a great place to work.
“We just try to do the right thing, it’s just who we are as people.”
Mr. Sizzle’s, 346 Connecticut Street, Buffalo | mistersizzles.com | Facebook | Instagram
Photos courtesy of Mister Sizzle’s