Milkie’s on Elmwood

Gone are the days of the Elmwood Lounge. Well, sort of. The new owner of the restaurant, Mike Milkie, is in the process of updating the interior while keeping the familiar retro lounge much as it was. “These days it’s all about the food,” Mike told me as he paged through a scrapbook filled with photos of his past restaurant endeavors. “There was a time when I ran ten restaurants at once in Buffalo. I look back at all of this history and think to myself, “Did I really do all of that?”". He did. He did “All of that” and more. I stopped Mike as he paged to a photo of himself standing beside Marlo Thomas. “Can you put that photo in the article?” he asked, smiling. “Of course,” I answered (see photo below). 

To talk to Mike Milkie is to talk to guy who has just about done it all in Buffalo at one point or another. His laundry list of restaurants that have spanned some 60 years include Falling Star, The Milkie Way Theater (his claim to fame), Sutter’s Saloon, The Miner’s Ten, Bobby McGee’s, the Old Docket, The Little Dipper, Charlie Brown’s, Gulliver’s, Tiffiny’s, The Club Armondo’s (a Bunny night club) and Milkie’s on Main. In that time Mike developed a taste for live jazz and blues, which he wants to bring back to his new restaurant Friday through Sunday. “I know that people will look at this building and think of the Elmwood Lounge,” Mike told me. “And that’s OK. I want them to know that we have brought Lance Diamond back – after all he has had a 20-year run here. The biggest change that we are making is the concentration on food. I want this place to be known for the food – something that the Elmwood Lounge was never really known for.”

Milkie's-Buffalo-NY-1.jpg

As for the food, the crux of the operation, Mike has hired his niece, Suzanne Milkie, to be head chef at Milkie’s. Suzanne has been in the restaurant industry for 20 years and has cheffed at some impressive places including The Park Lane, Siena and Chris’ Deli, which means that she is well versed in a variety of menu styles. Diners can expect to find a series of soups, flatbreads, burgers, salads, make-your-own deli sandwiches, pastas… there’s an Angus reserve sirloin, a salmon fillet, lasagna rolls, open souvlaki, pastrami and corned beef Ruben, steak sandwich, homemade hummus, loaded waffle fries and tons of extras. For the first time I can actually say that I’m going to be heading to the ‘old’ Elmwood Lounge for lunch or dinner…
Not only will there be good food at Milkie’s, there’s also going to be great music. Mike is excited to tap into the jazz and blues scene in Buffalo and anticipates that he can drum up some of the former musical glory that this city was once known to have. “My plan is to brighten the place up,” Mike continued. “We’re painting the walls and a new sign is on the way. I want people to know that we’re going to be putting a lot of effort into Milkie’s. I’m happy to be on Elmwood and I’m happy that we’re offering good food and good music, while retaining much of the retro feel that many Buffalonians have come to love over the years.”
Milkie’s is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Also serving food from the bar menu until 3am. Check the website for full list of dining hours, live music schedule, menu, poker tournaments, open mic and karaoke nights, etc.
Milkie’s on Elmwood
522 Elmwood Avenue (@ West Utica)
Buffalo NY 
716-882-5881

About the author  ⁄ queenseyes

Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Catalyst behind the Pierce-Arrow Film Arts Center. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette. Themed New Years mayhem at various locations. Next up: Porchfest... Also offers package tours of the city for groups or individuals. Contact Newell Nussbaumer | Newell@BuffaloRising.com

10 comments
EWvillager
EWvillager

I agree with most comments here. Keep the name Elmwood Lounge, or come up with something better than Milkie's.......not a very appealing name for a restaurant.

colonlacky
colonlacky

I have eaten at Milkie's a few times since they opened and really like the food. The flatbreads are tasty and homemade hummus is the best. Keep up the good work!

Timothy Domst
Timothy Domst

I ate at the Elmwood Lounge one day earlier this year for the fish dinner, and the fish was just ok but the fries are the best fries I've ever had, crisp golden brown on the outside and white and fluffy on the inside, maybe it was because we were the only ones there and the oil was really hot. So keep the old fryer.

Slu
Slu

As someone who just moved to town three years ago, I have no nostalgia for the Elmwood Lounge. I live a less than five minute walk from there and I never once considered going in let alone eating there. It appeared to be run down and dirty. And there never was anyone in there except for a few old men drinking and smoking. So I am happy about the change.

If truly cleaned up with an improved food menu, I will give it a try. Mike spoke to me briefly while I was walking by the other day. He was sweeping the sidewalk, which was never done before that I saw, and told me about the changes. He was a very nice gentleman and I wish him luck.

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

This was one of the few places in Buffalo one could find eggs Benedict, which is much more common in Rochester.

Congrats on the purchase, Mike! Any chance you'll keep eggs Benedict on the menu--?

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

I agree--keep the name. Jeuge the interiors, keep the retro and improve the food. You'd have a winning combination.

You can't recreate that kitsch.....it's precious.

bung
bung

There are few places a new owner should keep the old name. This is one of them and also The Royal Pheasant.

hamp
hamp

Not sure why the name had to be changed. I like "Elmwood Lounge".

14213
14213

I'm sorry but the mirrors have to go. It's a great space, but feels like a strip club, without the best part!

Get some good food and acts, and the people will follow.

Best of luck!

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