We were on the road for the great power outage of 2013, the August night that saw the stoplights go dark and chaos engulf the world. Our nerves tattered, we made it to our destination, finding a weary group of travelers huddled together, raising a glass to better times. Then, suddenly, the lights came back, and a joyous cry.
OK, that’s not exactly how it went down.
In reality, it was a bit less Cormac McCarthy and a tad less dramatic: The power was out on Transit Road the night we decided to hit Pizza Plant’s “new” (it’s still new to me, even though the move to the former Atlanta Bread Co. spot near Sheridan took place more than a year ago), and as we pulled in to the parking lot, we imagined a rain check would be necessary.
But that was not the case. Sure, they were not cooking food, but the friendly hostess invited us to have a drink at the bar, where we found a good-natured group happily beer-ing the evening away. Peanuts were going fast.
This sight told me a lot, actually. Pizza Plant is a brand in Western New York, one as popular for both its beloved stuffed pods as it is for its epic draft beer list. It is so well-liked that light, television and electricity are not considered essentials.
While the Main Street, Tony Walker plaza location has a rather slim bar, the Transit site’s bar is spacious, larger than the one located at the previous Transit spot (now a Chipotle) was. The dining area, too, is significantly larger than at Main Street.
Both locations are wildly family-friendly – every time Pizza Plant is mentioned, my 3-year-old son thinks we are talking about “Pizza Planet,” the space-themed restaurant from “Toy Story.” Both have a cheery vibe, one hammered home by the joke-y menu and overall aesthetic.
Even without power, folks were in good spirits. And when the lights suddenly came back on, the crowd emitted the kind of roar usually reserved for Sabres’ overtime playoff victories. (Haven’t needed one of those in a while.)
By the time we grabbed a seat, then, we’d had plenty of time to peruse the beer list. I was glad we did, because that list is long, and it’s strong. Just a few examples: Guinness, Evil Twin Ryan and the Beaster Bunny (easily the best name on the list), Hebrew Funky Jewbelation (OK, that’s the best name on the list), Founders Rubaeus Raspberry and Devil Dancer, Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Stout, Anchor Farmhouse Ale, Smuttynose Baltic Porter, Dogfish Head Aprihop, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine and Hoptimum, Goose Island Sofie, Ommegang Three Philosophers, Delirium Tremens and Community Beer Works’ Rutherford B. Haze.
Mind you, that is just a sampling of the list, and there are also a number of interesting bottled picks. I went with a Union Jack IPA and later the very nice Saison DuPont Dry hopped. Like all of the Plant employees, our server was knowledgeable and very, very nice, offering some thoughts on a few of the brews that intrigued us.
Honestly, I can take or leave the pods at this point. They’re quite good, but that’s not what will bring me back to Pizza Plant. Forget it, pods – it’s beer.
Thanks to that huge beer selection, I get as excited for Pizza Plant as “Toy Story’s” Andy was for Pizza Planet. As a parent, I’ve seen “Toy Story” about 40 times in the last couple of months, so let me assure you – Andy was pretty darn excited.