A name like ‘The Lodge’ might lead some to assume it’s a steakhouse, but Vegetarians, don’t write it off! The Lodge is going to make you a very happy herbivore: My prior association with The Lodge on 79 W Chippewa St, Buffalo, NY 14202 was from a co-worker who said he ordered his first antelope there. While alternative and exotic, it wasn’t up my alley. When an entrepreneurs networking event was booked in The Lodge upstairs bar and patio area, I thought I’d check out the website to see just exactly what they had to offer. I was surprised! They were incredibly accommodating to vegetarians! They offer a vegetarian chili, vegan salads, a veggie burger, tofu bahn mi, and goat cheese and walnut ravioli. I was floored! This was The Lodge? I couldn’t wait for the event to be over, because I was most certainly trying that goat cheese and walnut ravioli! The ambiance of The Lodge is chic and elegant, yet earthy and rustic at the same time. Lodge Co-Owner, Adam March, and his business partner, Dan Valentine got together with Buffalo event producer and marketer, Peter Altholz, to launch this incredible vision. The space is beautiful; the decor is a mixture of new and refurbished materials utilized in an entirely new fashion. On this particular night, not only was the First Thursdays Networking Happy Hour event hosted in the upstairs bar, but the downstairs patio was packed with The 22nd Congress for New Urbanism held in Buffalo this year, so the place was hoppin’! Also, it goes to show there’s plenty of room if you’re looking for a restaurant to hold an event. After a very enjoyable evening of meeting-and-greeting, and in some cases reconnecting, with Buffalo’s most outgoing entrepreneurs with good wine (Josh Cellars Cab) and bottled beer (Stella Artois and Ommegang Brewery), my husband (also a Buffalo entrepreneur) and I retreated to the hostess stand downstair to be seated for dinner. It may be the wine talking, but the hostess was wonderful, the server was cheerful, and the busser was prompt and always kept our waters full. I was very set on this Goat Cheese and Walnut Ravioli, even though I really dislike walnuts. I’ve come to discover if I don’t like something (and I’m not allergic or have an intolerance to it), I’ll order it at a higher end casual or fine dining restaurant. It usually turns out that I have just never actually known how to properly prepare the food, or haven’t used it in some innovative way, and upon paying someone good money to prepare it for me, I actually really like it. The Goat Cheese and Walnut Ravioli was just that. Served in a creamy, blueberry sauce, the Ravioli was stuffed with delicious, fragrant goat cheese that actually cut straight through the flavor of the walnuts, making the purpose of the nuts in the dish strictly a textural element which absolutely worked. The sauce was savory and the blueberries (which are also in season I might add) popped when bit into. The blueberries are not too sweet and they really balanced the sharp goat cheese. The homemade pasta was perfect. The entire dish was absolutely fantastic. My husband, the meat eater, had a juicy burger with french fries and a house chipotle aioli. I understand he thoroughly enjoyed it. I did try the mayo on a fry; it was quite delicious. It was most certainly unlike other fast food restaurant chipotle dips you might get. While talking to our server, I asked about the veggie burger, and she said it was completely house made and even she was a huge fan of it, so I’ll most definitely be going back to try it out. (Update: I did go back and tried the Veggie Burger and it was just as amazing as the server claimed. It was a thick homemade patty cooked well, the bun was excellent, and the fries were awesome. Loved it and I most certainly recommend it!) She went on to mention that The Lodge has been trying to move in a more Buffalo-centric and sustainable direction, so we can expect to see some good things coming from them in regards to local food and a hot spot for fun things to do in Buffalo. They’ve hosted Yelp events and are looking forward to doing more. Almost as proof, when we left around 11 pm a DJ was just getting ready to start the party for the evening. If you’re looking for drinks, a sexy place to dine, or a little of both in Downtown Buffalo, The Lodge on Chippewa is a must. Take some friends, enjoy the evening, and Instagram your dinner; TheLodgeBuffalo totally followed me back 🙂 Check out my The Lodge Bar + Grill Review on Yelp!